Dog owners have been urged to check what local restrictions are in place before allowing pets into Dublin’s parks and beaches this summer.
Hay may be considered man’s best friend, but open running dogs can strike fear in the hearts of many, especially children as well as pose a threat to wildlife.
Last week, the DSPCA reported that a goose feather was bitten by an off-leash dog on the side of the Royal Canal in Fybsboro and later died.
Following the shocking incident, the animal welfare charity called on owners to step up when walking their dogs.
A caller recently told RT’s Liveline how she was bitten and her Labrador suffered serious injuries when they were set off by two wolf-like dogs in Klondalkin on Easter Sunday.
Last month, the mother of a boy who was attacked by a mixed-breed Staffordshire Bull Terrier in 2020 said she found it “upsetting and disappointing” that dogs were still being allowed near their West Dublin home.
Darryl Brady-Graham, then 12, suffered severe facial injuries and 150 stitches after the horrific Cloncilla incident.
With the pandemic puppy boom seeing a sharp increase in dog ownership, there has been a demand to raise awareness of the by-laws in place in Dublin’s parks and beaches.
The DSPCA was at Bull Island Nature Reserve this week to promote responsible dog ownership as part of an ongoing program at local schools.
The charity’s head of education and media, Gillian Bird, said restrictions vary, so owners should always check what regulations are in place at the local level.
“Even if a local authority has a rule for areas where your dog is walked, you still have to pay great attention to signage because things can change seasonally,” she said.
“Signs and laws are not meant to interfere with dog owners, they are there to help them be responsible and protect other park users and animals.
“People automatically assume there is a park for them and their dog. However, the reality is that 50 percent of park users do not own dogs, or may not like dogs.
Ms Bird told the Independent that several factors should be considered before a dog is allowed off-lead.
“The most important thing is that they have a good memory,” she said. “If you can’t get them back to heel right away, you shouldn’t let them get away with their lead.”
She added that a dog’s understanding of the ‘leave’ command is also important.
“This includes everything from your dog not peeing in someone’s picnic basket to making sure they don’t eat something that’s dangerous to them. It’s not just courtesy to others, it’s yours.” It’s also for the pet’s own safety.”
Ms Bird said that while a dog’s socialization skills with other dogs can be helpful, it will count for nothing without good memory.
She also warned owners to check what by-laws are in place before bringing a dog on holiday to Ireland.
“The accommodation may be pet-friendly, but when you arrive you may find that the dogs are banned from the local beach,” she said.
The Dogs Trust charity said it encourages owners to be mindful of local regulations, particularly for off-lead exercise.
“There may be times when it is appropriate for a dog to move, such as another person coming with their dog,” a spokesperson said.
“We always recommend keeping dogs on a lead in traffic or near livestock at all times.”
While bylaws and facilities for dogs may vary in each local authority area, there is no ambiguity when it comes to the 11 banned breeds (and strains/crossbreeds), which include Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, Doberman Pinchers, German Shepherds. Rottweilers and Japanese Akitas.
Dogs in this category should be strangled in public and kept on a short, sturdy ledge by someone over the age of 16 who is able to control them.
These breed regulations also apply to designated dog areas in public parks.
Dublin’s local authorities are working to strike a balance between keeping dog owners happy and keeping the public safe, with an increasing number of off-lead zones in parks. Here are the rules for each local authority area in Dublin.
The bye-laws introduced saw an effective ban on allowing dogs off-leash in regional parks, other than in dedicated areas. Smaller parks have specific off-lead times — up to 11 a.m. and an hour before closing — which many dog owners argue are too restrictive.
An online petition by the Fingerling Dog Owners Group to overturn the bye-laws received more than 8,000 signatures.
Fingal County Council has off-lead areas in Ardgillon (Skerries/Balbrigan), Malahide, St. Catherine’s Park (Lucan), Newbridge (Donabet), Sentry Demesne, Porterstown, Millennium Park (Blanchardstown), Tyrellstown and Ward River Valley (Swords). Huh. ,
In terms of beaches, there are strict rules during the official bathing season, with dogs only allowed off before 11 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Dogs are prohibited in designated bathing areas on the Blue Flag beaches of Fingle.
Dogs must be leading the parks at all times, except in designated areas at Marley Park, Shanaganagh Park, and Cabintelli Park. This does not apply to Killeen Hill Park, which is completely off-leash.
There are also strict rules for some of South Dublin’s most popular bathing spots. For example, dogs are banned from designated bath/lifeguard control areas at Seapoint and Sandycove throughout the year.
In Killini, dogs are not allowed into lifeguard patrolled areas between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the summer bathing season.
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council allows dogs to be off-leash in non-designated bathing areas at all times.
Dublin City Council
DCC operates a seasonally adjusted set time when dogs are allowed off-lead at beaches and parks – usually before 11 a.m. and for an hour in the evening. The one exception is North Bull Island, which is part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere.
This year, the local authority proposed major changes to the rules for St. Anne’s Park. Dogs are not allowed off-leash at any time in the main sections of the park, including the children’s playground and the famous rose garden.
However, they can be allowed to run free in a designated area outside the on-lead zone, without any time restrictions.
South Dublin County Council
Dogs should be kept on a lead in their parks and under effective control in any public place. Off-lead areas are provided at Griffin Park in Lucan, Tioman Park, Tallaght, Waterstown Park, Palmerstown, and Corkaugh Park, Klondalkin.