Over 26,000 dogs disappear from system after jump in licence fee
Meath witnessed largest drop with 42 per cent fewer permits issued in 2012
The number of individual dog licences dropped 12 per cent, after the fee was raised from €12.70 to €20. Photograph: Reuters
Local authorities generated over €1 million in extra revenue last year following an increase in the cost of dog licences from €12.70 to €20.
However, this was over half a million short of what would have been generated had over 26,000 dogs not disappeared from the licensing system between 2011 and 2012.
The number of individual dog licences dropped by 12 per cent, or 26,331 licences, according to year-on-year figures issued by local authorities and published by the Department of Environment.
At €20 per licence, the missing dogs would have generated €526,620 in revenue were they still in the system. There were also 156 fewer general licences, issued to owners with 20 or more dogs, which would have attracted €62,400.
Meath witnessed the largest relative drop in individual dog licences last year, with 42 per cent fewer issued in 2012 than a year previously.
Fingal County Council also saw a 38 per cent drop in individual licences, while the number issued in Cork and Clare both dropped by more than a fifth in the same period. The number of licences issued last year was at its lowest level since 2002, when 172,437 individual licences were issued.
Councils recorded a combined deficit of €1.6 million last year relating to the control of dogs, compared to a €2.7 deficit in the previous two years and a €3.1 million deficit in 2009.
Just eight of the 34 councils reported a surplus. Kerry, which has the highest percentage of dog owners per head of population with almost 12 licences for every 100 people, generated almost €90,000.
On the other end of the scale, South Dublin recorded a deficit of almost €220,000 while Dublin City Council’s deficit stood at just under €195,000.
Other councils with deficits of over €100,000 were Wicklow and Kildare at €107,000 and €141,000 respectively.
The number of stray dogs put down was at an all-time low last year, with 4,500 dogs put to sleep compared to 5,586 dogs a year earlier.
This reflects a downward trend over the past decade: the 4,500 dogs destroyed last year compares favourably with 16,598 dogs which were put down in 2004.