Please be advised that as and from Tuesday 6th June 2017 the opening hours for the Veterinary Section will be from 10am to 4pm

Five Freedoms

The welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental state and we consider that good animal welfare implies both fitness and a sense of well-being. Any animal kept by man, must at least, be protected from unnecessary suffering.
We believe that an animal's welfare, whether on farm, in transit, at market or at a place of slaughter should be considered in terms of 'five freedoms'. These freedoms define ideal states rather than standards for acceptable welfare. They form a logical and comprehensive framework for analysis of welfare within any system together with the steps and compromises necessary to safeguard and improve welfare within the proper constraints of an effective livestock industry.

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.

2. Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.

5. Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Animal Welfare Legislation

The legislation that applies to animal welfare in Ireland is as follows:

 Animal Ownership 

As Veterinary Surgeons, Veterinary Inspectors in Cork county Council are professionally competent to assess and promote animal welfare. The relief of animal suffering is the primary responsibility of all Veterinary Surgeons under the Veterinary Surgeons Acts, 1931 to 1960.

Active enforcement by the Veterinary Department of all animal welfare legislation promotes animal welfare in the following ways:

  • At abattoirs, welfare is promoted by the enforcement of the Abattoirs Act, 1988, specifically with regard to the licensing standards of abattoirs. There is inspection of animal welfare standards as part of veterinary inspections at ante-mortem, during slaughter and at post-mortem. The treatment of animals during transport and slaughter is strictly controlled. Enforcement of the Slaughter of Animals Act, 1935 is exclusively a local authority function. All slaughterers are licensed as to their competency and their use of approved slaughter instruments, equipment and methods.
  • Active enforcement of the Control of Dogs Act promotes responsible dog ownership and control. The issue of out of control and wandering packs of dogs is a serious one. The suffering caused to sheep in particular as a result of attacks by dogs is horrific. Without the work of the dog warden service, it would not be possible for many farmers to continue with sheep farming, due to attacks by dogs.
  • The input of the Veterinary Department in animal welfare concerns related to intensive animal production systems, such as intensive pig and poultry units, is achieved through enforcement of the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes Act, 1984. Veterinary Inspectors expect technical advice to be given regarding animal welfare and environmental issues in dealing with planning applications for intensive animal production units. This advice is increasingly sought by the planning authorities.

Fallen Animals

It is the responsibility of animals' owners to dispose of fallen animals in accordance with current Animal By-product Regulations. This involves the removal of the carcass by a licensed Animal Collection Service and subsequent rendering.

Reports of incidences of increased levels of fallen animals in farms are investigated by Veterinary Inspectors in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, particularly to ascertain if a particular disease or animal welfare problem is behind the increased mortality.

Cases of dumping of animal carcasses are investigated, particularly with regard to tracing the origin of the animal involved and its owner. This is to recoup any costs involved in the disposal of the carcass, and in connection with legal proceedings that may follow such dumping.

Dog Control Service

Cork County Council's Veterinary section has been operating its dog control service since 1986, in accordance with the Control of Dogs Act, 1986. This service aims to promote responsible dog ownership by taking the following initiatives:

  • Collecting stray dogs.
  • Investigating sheep kills.
  • Investigating nuisance caused by dangerous dogs or dogs not under proper control.

In order for this to succeed, constant communication with the general public, dog owners, veterinary surgeons and animal welfare groups is essential.

Queries/complaints for the County of Cork are coordinated by the Veterinary Section, please see the Contact Us page for more information.

Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015, as amended
From 31st March 2016, in order to comply with these new regulations, all dogs must be microchipped and registered with an approved database. There are only two exceptions to this new legal requirement:

  1. Dogs less than 12 weeks/ 3 months of age,
  2. Dogs being taken from the premises where they were born by appointment to a veterinary practitioners facility where they are to be microchipped.

Failure to comply with this requirement is an offence and as such is subject to a fixed penalty payment and/or court proceedings.
Please contact your local veterinary practitioner to arrange to have your dog registered and microchipped today.

Barking Dogs

Excessive dog barking that causes a nuisance is an offence. Where it appears to the District Court that a nuisance has been created as a result of excessive barking, the Court may -

Order a person to abate the nuisance by exercising due control over the dog.

Make an order limiting for such period as may be specified in the order the number of dogs to be kept by a person on their premises.

Direct that a dog be delivered to a dog warden to be dealt with by him in accordance with the provisions of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986, as if the dog were an unwanted dog.

Nuisance by Barking Dogs, Section 25, Control of Dogs Act 1986.

You can make a complaint about excessive barking to the District Court in accordance with Section 25 of Control of Dogs Act 1986 and Noise Regulation by using this form.

Dog Fouling

Under Section 22 (of the Litter Pollution Act, 1997) , it is not an offence to allow a dog under your control to foul in a public place, however it is an offence to let your dog foul and fail to remove and dispose of the foul subsequently. This means that you or the person in charge of your dog is required under this law to remove dog faeces and dispose of it in a suitable and sanitary way.

An on-the-spot fine of €150 can be imposed on the owner of a dog who fails to remove dog faeces from a public place, with the maximum fine for this offence being €3,000.

Failure to clean up after your dog can result in humans, particularly children, becoming infected by a dog parasite that can cause blindness. The parasite is a worm called Toxocara canis that passes its eggs in the dogs’ stools.

What is Toxocara canis?

Toxocara is a roundworm which infects dogs in Ireland. It is rare for a dog, especially a young pup, not to be troubled by worms at some stage. Even in dogs that are regularly wormed can still carry some of these worms. The worm lives in the dog’s intestine and its eggs are passed in the dog’s stools.

What is Toxocariasis?

Toxocariasis is an infection which humans can pick up as a result of coming into contact with the eggs contained in the dog’s stools.

Although usually a mild infection in humans, Toxocariasis can have potentially serious health effects such as blindness. 

How might someone catch it?

The Toxocarra eggs have to be ingested (i.e. taken into the mouth and swallowed) before someone can catch the infection.

This could happen if a person handles soil, sand or any other material that is contaminated with dog stools and subsequently has direct contact with the mouth before hand-washing.

Gardens, play areas and public parks are likely sites for contamination with dog stools. Children’s sandboxes frequently offer attractive sites for dogs to “relieve themselves”.

Who is at risk?

Young people, especially toddlers, are at most risk. They commonly handle soil and dirty objects. They are more likely to put their hands to their mouths, lick fingers, suck thumbs and eat without prior hand-washing.

What are the symptoms?

Toxocariasis is usually a mild infection in humans, although symptoms may persist for many months. It is characterised by fever, feeling generally unwell and chest symptoms. Other symptoms, such as abdominal pains and generalised rash, may occur. In extreme cases the eye may be affected, resulting in loss of vision in that eye. The disease is rarely fatal.

How to prevent it?

Dog owners must not allow their dogs stools to remain in public places – remove and dispose of it.  All it takes is a scented child’s nappy bag.

  • Parents should be aware of the potential risk associated with family pets.
  • Dogs  should be wormed regularly; Consult your veterinary practitioner
  • Clean up all dog stools whether inside or outside the home (especially play areas)
  • Keep children’s sand pits & sand boxes covered when not in use.

Remember Any Bag, Any Bin!

Key Responsibilities of every DOG OWNER:
* All dog owners must keep their dogs under effectual control in public places - this generally means keeping your dog on a lead when in a public place.
* All dog owners must have a licence for each dog in their possession or a general dog licence to cover all dogs in their possession - you can purchase a dog licence from the Post Office or from your local authority.
* All dog owners must ensure that every dog under their control shall at all times wear a collar bearing the name and address of the owner and that the name and address are legible
* All dog owners owning purebred or crossbred dogs belonging to certain breeds e.g Rottweilers, Bull Terriers etc,  must ensure that these dogs are securely muzzled and on a strong leash not more than 2 metres in length when in a public place.  See the full list of breeds below.
* All dog owners must collect and properly dispose of faeces deposited by their dog in a public place.

Why are there laws for dogs?
There are no laws for dogs, there are laws for DOG OWNERS. This is because dogs, particularly large dogs, represent a potential danger to pedestrians, motorists and livestock if they are not kept under control at all times. Dogs that are not kept under proper control may also cause nuisance and annoyance by damaging neighbours' property, defaecating on neighbours' property, or by excessive barking.
All dog owners have a responsibility to ensure that their dog is properly cared for and that they are not a nuisance or a danger to their neighbours or other members of the public.

What does effectual control of your dog mean?
This means that you have complete control over your dog's movements. In general, this can only be guaranteed by keeping your dog on a lead.  If your dog is a Rottweiler or a Rottweiler crossbreed, or a purebred or crossbred dog belonging to one of the breeds listed below, effectual control means that the lead must be a strong lead no more than 2 metres in length and that your dog is also securely muzzled.

Why do I need a dog licence?
A dog licence is evidence of your legal entitlement to keep a dog.  The funds raised from dog licences go towards providing a dog warden service for the collection of stray and unwanted dogs and the investigation of dog related complaints, and a dog pound for the housing and care of stray and unwanted dogs in each local authority area in the country.
The current charge for a dog licence is €20 if you purchase it annually or €140 if you buy a lifetime dog licence.  Annual dog licences may be purchased from the Post Office or from your local authority.  Lifetime dog licences may only be purchased from your local authority.  General dog licences are available for people who keep more than 20 dogs at a premises.

My dog is microchipped, why does my dog need a collar and tag with my name and address on it?
Microchips may only be read by a person with a microchip scanner.  The scanner will only detect the microchip number.  That number must then be sent to a microchip database keeper, who will hopefully have your correct contact details and will notify these details to the person who scanned the dog.  If your dog strays but has your name and address (or telephone number) on or attached to its collar, the person who finds it will know immediately who your dog belongs to and can return it directly to you.

Why should I clean up after my dog?
Dog faeces is foul-smelling, unsightly and is a potential source of serious disease, particularly for children.  Dog faeces is a particular nuisance on footpaths, in parks, playgrounds and in school playing areas where it is likely to be stepped on by pedestrians, or rolled on by cyclists or wheelchair users, or handled by small children playing in the area.  You are required by law to collect any faeces that your dog deposits in a public place and dispose of it in a sanitary manner.  Many local authorities now provide bags and bins specifically for dog faeces in parks and playing areas.

What are the listed breeds?
These are a list of breeds of dogs that are considered to be potentially more dangerous to people than other breeds of dog.  It is not that these dogs are more likely to attack or bite a person than any other breed, but that if they do, the damage that they can inflict is much more serious.
 All dog owners owning purebred or crossbred dogs belonging to the breeds listed below, or a dog commonly referred to as a Bandog, must ensure that these dogs are securely muzzled and on a strong leash not more than 2 metres in length when in a public place:

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

What should I do if I find a stray dog?

* Any person who finds and takes possession of a stray dog must:
(a) Return the dog to its owner
(b) Deliver the dog to a Dog Warden
(c) Detain the dog and give notice in writing containing a description of the dog, the address where it was found and the address of the place where it is detained to the member in charge at the nearest Garda Station to the place where the dog was found, or to the Dog Warden.

What should I do if my dog goes missing?
You should firstly check with your neighbours to see if they have seen your dog or know where it might be.  If this is unsuccessful, you should contact your local Garda station and your local authority dog warden and your local authority dog pound. If you live near the border of a local authority area, you should also contact the dog wardens and dog pounds in the neighbouring local authority areas. 

Why do dogs attack cattle and sheep?
Dogs will chase any animal that runs away from them. It is a natural instinct. Modern farming methods have resulted in less interaction between humans, dogs and livestock.  Livestock are now more likely to run away from people and dogs because they are strange to them.  A barking dog will frighten livestock and increase the likelihood of them running away.  By chasing livestock, dogs are likely to cause the animals to be injured on barbed wire fencing or to get stuck in drains, or even drowned in rivers. Chasing pregnant animals can cause abortions, stillbirths and other difficulties at birth. Animals that have been chased, particularly where it happens repeatedly, suffer from stress and will not feed or thrive properly. Where a dog corners an animal, it will attack the animal by biting it. This often results in serious injuries and, in the case of sheep, frequently causes the death of the animal.

Why should I neuter my dog?
Where a dog is not intended for breeding, neutering provides benefits not only for the dog itself, but also for society. This is because it stops female dogs having unwanted litters of pups, which their owners may have difficulty finding good homes for, and which may then grow up not being properly cared for, not being kept under control, and posing a risk to the public and livestock.  Neutering helps to control the dog population, resulting in fewer unwanted and fewer abandoned dogs.

What is a Dog Breeding Establishment(DBE)?
This is an establishment at which 6 or more female dogs, over the age of 6 months and capable of breeding, are kept. All female dogs are counted, whether they are used for breeding or not. DBE's include dog rescue centres, boarding kennels, hunt kennels, as well as puppy farms. These establishments must register with their local authority and comply with the requirements of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010. They must display their certificate of registration in a prominent place at their establishment. Only local authority dog pounds and premises registered as greyhound breeding establishments are exempt.

The Dog Breeding Establishment Register is available to view at the Veterinary Department, Floor 2, County Hall between the hours of 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) or alternatively a copy can be requested electronically by emailing

Lost and Found

Have you lost your dog?

Lost and found dogs can be reported to the Veterinary Department Dog Control Service.  Please ensure that you provide the correct description/ information in order to assist the Dog Control Service.
If you wish to provide this information directly, you can make contact with us at the Veterinary Department on 021-4285405 during office hours.

Have you found a dog straying?

Any person who finds and takes possession of a stray dog must:

  1. return the dog to its owner, or
  2. deliver the dog to a dog warden, or
  3. detain the dog and give notice in writing containing a description of the dog, the address of the place where it was found, and the address of the place where it is detained to a dog warden in accordance with Section 13 of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986. 

Where a person has found a stray dog and has retained possession of the dog for a year after the date on which he gave notice to a dog warden regarding finding the stray dog, and the dog has not been claimed by its owner within that year, the finder of the dog shall become the owner of the dog and the title of the former owner to the dog shall be extinguished.

What do I do now?

You may wish to provide information regarding a lost or found dog by emailing us at

Please include the following details in your email:

  • The breed if known, size, colour, age, any distinguishing marks, general character i.e. friendly, nervous.
  • Gender of the dog
  • Details of tag and collar
  • Date and location where the dog was last seen
  • Your contact details (name, address, telephone number) 

The above details are then sent to all the County Dog Wardens and cross-referenced with the Pound Service.


A microchip is a tiny (grain of rice sized) inert metal implant containing a unique electronic barcode number. The microchip is inserted into dogs under the loose skin over the shoulder region in a simple procedure carried out by a veterinary surgeon using a special hypodermic syringe. The unique barcode is read by a scanner and registered by the veterinary surgeon at a central microchip database. This code identifies the dog for life specifically to the registered owner of the dog.

Cork County Council is responsible for responding to reports of horses/mules/donkeys straying or out of control on public property only.

Please note the following:

If a horse/mule/ donkey is straying or out of control or present without permission on private property it is the land-owner or person in charge of the land who is responsible for dealing with the animal in terms of impounding and addressing adverse welfare if applicable. You or the owner of the lands are advised to contact the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine and/or the ISPCA. 

If a horse/mule/donkey is straying or out of control on public property, please contact Cork County  Council Veterinary Department on (021)4285405, Monday to Friday between 10 a.m- 4.00 p.m. In ALL circumstances, either on public OR private lands, if you believe the straying horse/mule/donkey poses a danger to the public, please inform the Garda Síochana as soon as you can.