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Control of Dogs

Legal Responsibilities as Dog Owner Image

Dog Pound

The Council operates a dog pound and it is located in Zone B, Mullingar Business Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath N91 XE08. 

Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10.00am - 12noon.

Contact number: 044 93 43934 / 044 93 32226

Visit our Westmeath County Council Dog Pound Facebook page for details of dogs available for rehoming

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Keep your dog under control. Running free he can be a killer



Control of Animals

Simple steps to avoid a dog biting/attacking

  • Dogs will signal before biting, including looking away from the source of stress, moving away, staring, lifting their lip into an Elvis curl, growling, snarling, pretend bite, lunging forward and finally a real bite.
  • Do not punish a dog for communicating its stress in such a manner. It is merely trying to issue a warning.
  • Dogs, as a general rule, hate hugs and kisses.
  • Children should never, ever put their face near a dog's muzzle.
  • Dogs confuse new born babies with toys – always keep infants well out of a dog's reach.
  • Never, ever corner a dog

Studies have shown that attacks are not breed specific. 

Westmeath County Council has adopted a "Responsible Dog Ownership" policy. This policy sets out the Council’s approach to encourage and enforce responsible dog ownership  Responsible Dog Ownership Policy (1,180kB) .


Dog Licencing

All dogs over four months must have a licence. A dog licence costs €20 and can be purchased at your local Post Office.

The cost of a "Lifetime of Dog Licence" is €140 and can be purchased from your Local Post Office.

The cost of a "General Dog Licence" for owners of multiple dogs is €400 and can be purchased from your Local County Council.

A dog licence is valid for 12 months and you must be over 16 years of age to hold a dog licence.

It is an offence to have a dog without a licence and a fine of €100 applies.

What type of licence do you need?

  • Individual dog licence –  covers one dog for a period of 12 months
  • General dog licence –  for owners of kennels for a period of 12 months
  • Lifetime of the dog licence –  for the lifetime of the dog for which the licence is issued

Dogs which do not require a licence

  • Guide dogs for the blind do not require licensing 
  • Dogs which are in the country for less than 30 days do not require licensing.


Micro-chipping of Dogs

From 31st March, 2016, all dogs must be micro-chipped with their details registered on an approved database. Owners must hold a certificate of proof from the database.

From 1st September, 2015 any pup MUST be chipped by the time they reach 12 weeks, or before they leave the property they were born on. The microchip must be registered on an approved database, and the breeder or owner must hold a certificate with the pup's details and the owner's details.

Since 1st September, 2015 it has been illegal to buy, take ownership, sell or supply a pup that does not have a certificate of microchip registration from an approved database.  (This will apply to all dogs from 31st March, 2016).

Dog owners must ensure that all information is up to date and correct.  Any changes must be made known to the database and recorded on a new certificate.

If your dog is already chipped, you do not need to be re-chipped; however, their details must be stored on an approved database and hold a certificate of confirmation.

The microchip must meet a specific technical standard and the supplier must have a contract with an approved database for the storage of data.


Dog Regulations

Do you keep 6 or more female dogs?

On 1 January 2012, new dog regulations came into force in Ireland. The regulations apply if you keep 6 or more female dogs which are more than 6 months old and are capable of breeding. 

You should contact Westmeath County Council to check if you are covered by these regulations. The legislation in question is the Dog Breeding Establishments Act.

The regulations may cover dogs even when they are not used for, or never will be used for breeding purposes. Westmeath County Council will clarify if you are covered by the regulations. Anyone who is covered by the new regulations will need to register with Westmeath County Council and ensure that their premises conform to the guidelines issued as part of the regulations.  

Register of Dog Breeding Establishments


Note Failure to register with Westmeath County Council is an offence under the regulations

Dog Warden duties

  • Seizing of stray dogs. Dogs involved in sheep worrying may be shot by the flock-owner or may be seized and put down by the dog warden. The dog-owner is liable for damages in cases where sheep are killed or injured.
  • Dog licence inspection. 
  • Care of seized dogs.
  • Re-homing of dogs. 
  • Liaising with members of the public regarding stray/dangerous/uncontrolled dogs.

Dog-owners responsibilities

  • Keep their dog/s under control in a public place. If your dog has been seized by the dog warden there is a €100 fee to re-claim your dog and boarding fees/other fees may apply. Evidence of having a licence for your dog is also required.
  • Dogs must wear a collar and tag bearing the name and address of the owner. A fine of €200 can be imposed for non compliance.
  • Certain breeds of potentially dangerous dogs must be kept on a leash and muzzled and be controlled by a person over 16 years, who is capable of controlling the dog, when in a public place. An on-the-spot fine of €300 can be imposed for non compliance.
  • A person in charge of a dog must clean up when the dog fouls in a public place. Owners who fail to do so are liable to an 'on-the-spot' of €150.

The following dogs must be on a leash, muzzled and be controlled by a person over 16 years, who is capable of controlling the dog, when in a public place. An on-the-spot fine of €300 can be imposed for not complying with this

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Bulldog
  • Bull Mastiff 
  • Dobermann Pinscher 
  • English Bull Terrier 
  • German Shepherd (Alsatian)
  • Japanese Akita
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Every dog of the type commonly known as a Ban Dog (or Bandog) and to every other strain or cross of every breed or type of dog described above.