The pandemic has highlighted the positive impacts dogs can have on our mental and physical wellbeing. With many of us spending more time at home and in the outdoors over the last fifteen months we have been able to rediscover the joys of owning a pet.
We are nation of dog lovers, and this is reflected in the growing dog population in Ireland which is now estimated at 800,000. We all know that owning a dog comes with responsibilities which are now more important than ever.
Heading outdoors with your dog is enjoyable, healthy and an essential part of owning a dog but we also need to think about non-owners and the outdoor spaces we all share.
It is a fact that some people can be nervous around dogs, so dog owners need to be considerate of others when enjoying the outdoors with their pet.
Following a few simple practices such as keeping our pets on a lead and cleaning up after them not only makes a big difference to the environment but also helps to foster a general positive response to our dogs.
All land in Ireland is owned by someone whether by the state or private landowners. Some farmers have become increasingly cautious about dogs being on their land particularly if there are livestock on the land or at certain times of the year for example at breeding times.
Unsupervised dogs can be a nuisance and can kill and stress livestock. Every year sadly sheep are killed by free roaming dogs in Ireland, but this is preventable by ensuring we keep dogs on a lead and away from working farms.
Dog poo is not just unsightly it also an environmental and health hazard, particularly for children. It is an offence under the Litter Pollution Act 1997 to allow a dog to foul a public place and dog owners can face hefty fines if convicted.
Most dog owners have no problem picking up after their pets, however, waste must be disposed of properly in a dedicated dog waste bin or brought home and disposed of safely there.
There are a number of pieces of legislation that control the ownership and management of dogs, but laws and regulations will never replace being considerate and just doing the right thing. We see dog owners taking great care in owning and managing their dogs responsibly every day.
Leave No Trace Ireland encourages dog owners to make the right decisions that protect our outdoor spaces, the countryside and wildlife and leave them in an unspoilt condition for everyone to discover and enjoy.
We can all enjoy our dogs while at the same time protecting our environment and showing consideration for others. It’s the Leave No Trace way. Learn about how you can play your part and #LoveThisPlace #Leave No Trace here.