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The Kennel Club believes that more needs to be done to tackle irresponsible dog owners in this country, but that it is misguided to believe that the solution to this problem is dog licensing.

It is estimated that only 50% of dog owners take up licensing in Northern Ireland, which proves that it is the responsible dog owner who will end up paying a further tax on dog ownership, whilst the irresponsible will continue to flout the law. Licensing has been tried before in the UK and it has neither been enforceable nor has it been effective. Licensing was introduced in the UK 1867 and abolished in 1987.

Furthermore, there are no plans to ring-fence the money raised through licensing to ensure that it goes back into education and enforcement schemes that will tackle the problem of dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners. The Kennel Club supports the concept of tracing irresponsible dog owners through compulsory microchipping instead as, unlike licensing, it is a one-off fee and provides welfare benefits to the pet, to the owner and to society as a whole.

Last updated - November 2013