Why do so few dog owners have a licence?

The background to dog licences: the cost  went up in 2012 from €12.70 per year to €20 per year or €140 for lifetime license. But a minority of people pay this. Less than 200,000 licences were issued in 2014 despite the fact that there are estimated to be around 1 million dogs. There is minimal enforcement – it’s almost seen as a voluntary tax.

On this week’s show, we started by discussing everything to do with dog licences.

What’s the purpose of the dog licence?

In theory, it’s to pay for dog related services provided by local authorities

And what is the money spent on?

The money is used by Local Authorities to pay for dog wardens and dog pounds

If all puppies are microchipped now, is there a need for the licence?

This is a good question – joined up thinking is needed here but it isn’t happening at the moment – the dog licence is run by the Departtment of Environment, whereas microchipping is run by the Department of Agriculture. The two databases can’t talk to one another, so there is no connection at all between them.

This probably helps with compliance for microchip uptake (people will not be forced to get a dog licence if they get their dog microchipped) but it is clearly not very efficient.

Do you need a cat licence?

No cat licence is needed in Ireland at the moment! There are no “cat pounds” so local authorities do not need to raise funds for cats

My view is that the Dept of Environment needs to update the dog licence in some way. They could just abandon it, but at €20 x 200000 licences currently paid, that’s €4 million (less expenses) revenue which helps Local Authorities a lot. I don’t know if the Dept of Environment has any plans to reform the dog licence, but it is clearly not working (with only around 20% compliance) so something needs to change.

As an example, in New South Wales, Australia, all dogs must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age (as in Ireland now) but after that, they additionally need to be registered with the local authority by six months of age – and this is the clever bit: it’s $192 (€130) if not neutered/spayed, but only $52 (€35) if neutered/spayed, or $21 (€14) for an OAP.  The reduction for neutered pets provides a helpful incentive to increase spay/neuter rates which in turn reduces unplanned pregnancies so reduces to pressure on local authority dog pounds from unwanted pets.

The compulsory one-off lifetime registration makes far more sense than an annual fee which has costs every year to do with renewal

Questions from listeners:

  •  What can be done about a neighbour’s middle aged husky whining all the time? It seems as if they don’t give a damn about the nuisance the dog causes to neighbours.
  • I’m thinking about getting a dog. What do I need to know? Am I better getting a puppy? How much does it cost per week to keep a dog etc? Daragh. Letterkenny
  • Any tips on what to do with people’s dogs pooping outside my front door? I want to try a few things but not sure what is safe.
  • I have 2 aging Bichon Frise males, aged 13 and 10. Would you bring an 8 week old female Kerry blue into that mix?

Listen to the podcast:

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