Families in Briarhill are being terrorised by dangerous dogs, with some people afraid to leave their homes to go for a walk unless the animals are indoors.
That is according to local Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames who is appealing to the Gardai and the dog warden to act immediately to resolve the problem.
“I have received a number of calls from residents explaining that a rothweiler and a number of staffordshire bull terriers are at times allowed to roam free, unleashed and unmuzzled in the front garden of their owner’s home,” she claims.
“There is no protective barrier to prevent them from going onto the road and they have chased local people and children on the main road, in particular those walking pets. This situation is extremely dangerous. Briarhill national school is in close proximity with 200 young children. I have reports of a woman out walking with two children being chased by one of these dangerous dogs. Thankfully, in this case they were spared as the dangerous dog was hit by an oncoming vehicle as he gave chase.”
The Oranmore senator alleges another person’s pet was “savaged to death”. “This is an outrageous situation. People in Briarhill now look out their top windows to check and see if the dogs are out before attempting to go for a walk. The dogs are in control not the humans.”
She says there have been a number of previous “savage and near fatal attacks” by dangerous dog breeds in Galway.
“Last summer a garda ended up having to receive 40 stitches as a result of one such attack. It is time the current legislation was improved to insist on the mandatory registration not just of the dog but the owner as well. The dogs are bred to do what they do. It is the owner who must clearly take responsibility for the dog. He/she must be able to justify why they need to own a dangerous breed of dog and must adequately show their ability to care for and handle the dog at all times.”
When registering a potentially dangerous dog, owners should be assessed on their ability to handle, care for and take responsibility for the dog, she believes.
“The owner’s character and purpose for owning such a dog should be examined as part of the registration process. Accountability for the animal’s actions must lie firmly with the owner. Dangerous breeds should be regularly vetted so an assessment of their temperament can be determined. A veterinary surgeon would be best able to assess the temperament and nature of a dog as it matures.”
The senator is currently framing a private member’s motion with a view to bringing forward a Bill to strengthen the current legislation, she says.