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Volume 77: debated on Monday 15 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the effect of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 in controlling dogs.

The main provisions of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 were brought into operation on 19 December 1983 and their impact on the exceptional problems caused by stray dogs in the Province has been most encouraging.In the year to 31 December 1984, district councils issued licences in respect of some 86,600 dogs; under previous legislation some 46,650 licences were issued in 1982, and some 58,400 in 1983 (when there was public awareness of the imminence of the new regulations), 12 guard dog kennels and 519 breeding establishments were registered.Some 8,300 stray dogs were impounded, of which 810 were sold 1,650 were reclaimed and 5,820 had to be humanely destroyed; in addition, some 1,340 stray dogs were returned directly to their owners with a warning or a fixed penalty. Some 2,170 dogs were collected by councils from owners who no longer wished to keep them, of which some 160 were sold and 2,010 were destroyed.Councils received some 6,830 complaints, relating to straying, attacks on people and livestock, uncontrolled dogs, fouling and unlicensed dogs. Most were dealt with through advice and warnings, but some 360 fixed penalties were imposed, and 43 prosecutions were undertaken in respect of serious offences resulting in 39 convictions; a further 156 cases were under consideration with a view to prosecution.