Dáil Éireann - Volume 375 - 10 November, 1987

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Pounds Regulations.

14. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice if, in view of the difficulty of contacting county registrars, particularly at weekends, he will amend section 9 of the Pounds Regulations, which at present [26] require the consent of a county registrar to refuse to release an impounded animal, so that the consent of a Garda officer or some more easily accessible official is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Collins: Under regulation 9 of the Pounds Regulations, 1985, the poundkeeper may, with the consent of the county registrar, refuse to release any animal impounded under the Animals Act, 1985, if he is not satisfied that adequate accommodation and sustenance will be provided for the animal following such release.

I am happy that any decision not to release an animal on the grounds specified in regulation 9 of the Pounds Regulations should be subject to approval at a senior level. County registrars were considered the appropriate persons to give this approval because the control and management of pounds is vested in them by statute. The Pounds Regulations, 1985, have been in operation for little more than two years and I would like to have some further experience of their operation before considering a further amendment of these provisions.

Mr. Sherlock: While agreeing with the Minister that it takes a little time after enacting legislation to see what the shortcomings are, I would ask him if it would be possible to provide for a senior Garda officer or superintendent to be available in the locality where the event has taken place? It can happen that a small local authority area, like Mallow, confronted with this situation, would not have access to the county registrar at the weekend, and he is 20 miles away anyhow. In view of that I would ask the Minister to consider making the necessary change to make it easier for the local authority by having access to a senior garda or superintendent?

Mr. Collins: I appreciate the specific difficulties that can arise. I take it on board that the county registrar very likely is unavailable from Friday evening until some time on Monday morning, and that [27] on a bank holiday weekend, not for another day. I will have the matter examined. I will have consultations with country registrars to see if we can bring about a change in the legislation. It is a pity that some leeway was not given to the Minister of the day when this legislation was introduced to correct problems like this as they arose. Certainly I shall do what I can to have the matter examined straight away and something done.