Problems associated with dog control, including losses of livestock caused by marauding dogs, led to the passing of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986. The Act gave local authorities responsibility for operating dog control and licensing services with the power to appoint dog wardens, to provide shelters for stray and unwanted dogs, to seize dogs and to impose on-the-spot fines. Galway County Council is committed to managing a Dog Warden Service which guarantees the compassionate treatment of stray and unwanted dogs and enhances their prospect of finding a safe and caring home.
Dogs must be kept under control at all times under the Control of Dogs Act 1986.
Uncontrolled dog = On-the-spot fine! €300!!
If you have a dog over 4 months old, you must have a licence for it and the person to whom the licence is issued must be over 16 years of age.
A dog licence can be purchased at any post office or online at www.licences.ie
- Annual Dog Licence Application - valid for one year - €20.00
- Lifetime Licence Application - valid for the lifetime of your dog - (€140.00)
- A General Licence (€400.00) can be purchased from your local authority. This entitles a person to keep an unspecified number of dogs at a premise - Valid for one year. Please note that you may not keep 6 or more females capable of breeding unless registered as a Dog Breeding Establishment.
Unlicenced dog = On-the-spot fine! €150!!
Microchipping of Dogs
Since the 31st March 2016, it has been a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in Ireland and that the microchip is registered with your up to date contact details on an approved government database.
In Ireland, there are four approved databases:
- Irish Kennel Club
- The Irish Coursing Club (Micro ID)
A microchip provides secure, reliable and permanent identification, which greatly increases the likelihood that your pet, if lost, will be returned home to you.
Dog Breeding Establishments
All premises with 6 or more female dogs (aged 4 months or more) must register with the Local Authority under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010
Please click here to access the Closure notice issued on 15th November 2023
The Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) and Local Authorities have compiled this guide to responsible dog ownership in Ireland.
Does your dog have a collar?
All dogs must wear a collar with I.D (a disc or name tag with the name/address of the owner).
Dog without collar = On-the-spot fine! €200!!
Dogs which require special care
Under the Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 the following breeds of dog require extra control when in public places.
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Bull Mastiff
- Doberman Pinscher
- English Bull Terrier
- German Shepherd (Alsatian)
- Japanese Akita
- Japanese Tosa
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
These dogs (or strains and crosses of them) must be:
- Kept on a short strong lead by a person over 16 years who can control them
- Muzzled whenever in a public place
- Always wear a collar bearing the name and address of their owner
Dog fouling is a health hazard and spoils walkways and amenities for everybody. Dog faeces carry various infections including toxocariasis. This is caused by roundworms in the dog's intestine. Children are most vulnerable to the serious effects of this infection which can result in eye disorders, dizziness, nausea, asthma and epileptic fits.
If a dog fouls the person in charge must clean up and dispose of the faeces properly. Failure to do so can result in an ‘on-the-spot’ of €150 under the Litter Pollution Act 1997-2003 or a court appearance which can lead to a prosecution with a much larger penalty.
Always pick up after your dog using a dog waste bag or scooping device before disposing of it in the nearest litter bin.
A “stray dog” is a dog which is in a public place and not accompanied by the owner or other responsible person. Stray dogs may be seized by authorised person and kept for 5 days by an auhoirsed officer during which time they may be reclaimed by their owners or rehomed if they are suitable for rehoming.
When you find a stray dog you can…………..
- Return the dog to its owner if you can get the owners details easily and safely from the dog’s collar.
- If you are unable to find the owner you can contact your local Dog Warden. The dog may have been reported as missing to the warden.
- You may also decide to keep the dog yourself. In this case you must send written notification to the Dog Warden or the local Garda. If the dog’s owner does not claim the dog within a year you may become the owner of the dog.
- It is unlawful to hand a stray dog over to any person or agency except the dog’s owner, Dog Warden or the Garda.
If you can no longer care for your dog it can be surrendered to your local dog warden. The owner must produce a valid licence and a surrender fee of €50.00 per dog will apply. It is Galway County Council's policy to ensure every attempt is made to rehome all stray or wanted dogs that come into our care.
Lost your dog?
If a dog is missing/stolen, it is important that you act quickly:
- Immediately report to the Gardaí, Galway County Council's dog warden service and your vet.
- Spread the word on social media - post clear photos and detailed descriptions of the dog and encourage people to share the post.
- It should also be posted on missing animal websites and selling pages should be monitored to see if there are dogs for sale matching your dog's description.
Attacks on livestock
Reports of attacks on livestock have increased in recent years. It is the responsibility of the dogs owners under the Control of Dogs Act, to ensure that their dogs are under effective control at all times. Attacks on livestock can result in economic losses to the farmer, for which the dog owner can be held liable under the Control of Dogs Act.
Farmers who are effected are asked to report all attacks to Galway County Council's dog warden service as well as An Garda Siochána. The irish Farmers Accociation have issued a protocol outlining the actions farmers should take if they encounter a dog attack on their sheep. This can be accessed at the link below:
Excessive barking which causes a nuisance to any person is an offence. If you are bothered by persistent barking you could first contact the owner and make them aware of the nuisance caused by their dog. If this is unsuccessful a complaint should be made to the District Court on the appropriate form available from Galway County Council.