McConalogue writes to Cabinet seeking tougher dangerous dog laws

Alejandro Miszan (9) left with life-changing injuries after he was attacked by a pit bull terrier in Enniscorthy

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has written to Cabinet colleagues seeking ideas to help clamp down on dangerous dogs in the aftermath of a vicious attack on a young boy in Co Wexford.

Mr McConalogue has been asked by the Taoiseach at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party to lead a cross-ministerial response to dog control.

The nine-year-old boy, Alejandro Miszan, was left with life-changing injuries after he was attacked by a pit bull terrier - also known as an “XL Bully” breed - in Enniscorthy last month. He was playing near his home at the time.

Speaking in the Dáil last week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there was a need to “go back to the drawing board” and for the issue of the control and legislation around the ownership of dangerous breeds of dogs to be “seriously examined”.

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He described the attack as “shocking”.

A number of ministers and departments have various responsibilities with regard to the control of dogs. Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys’ department, for example, is in charge of the control of dogs act, and Mr McConalogue’s own department is the lead on the microchipping of dogs.

Meanwhile, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien’s department oversees local authorities who are responsible for policing and enforcement.

Donegal TD Mr McConalogue is now seeking to co-ordinate efforts on the matter.

Elsewhere, he will on Thursday announce a record level of funding to nearly 100 animal welfare charities as part of the second annual animal welfare awareness day. The funding will be announced for the charities at an event in Dublin’s Farmleigh this afternoon.

The Dáil was told last week that there has been a significant rise in the number of dog attacks on people, with Fine Gael’s Alan Dillon saying there had been over 1,700 attacks recorded between 2016 and 2021.

Mr Dilon told the Dáil that the child was “savagely attacked” and had sustained “horrific injuries”. A woman aged in her 30s was arrested on Monday morning and is currently being questioned in Enniscorthy Garda station.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times