Pat Buckley TD calls for licence exemption for assistance dogs
Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson, Pat Buckley TD, has called for the expansion of a dog licence exemption for Guide Dogs to include Assistance Dogs for conditions such as Autism.
He made his call as he published the Dog Control (Licence Exemption) Amendment Bill.
Deputy Buckley said;
“Currently guide dogs for the blind do not require a licence but the use of trained dogs for assistance and support has expanded to a range of other conditions which are not exempt at this time.
"My bill would provide an exemption from the dog licence system for people who require a dog for assistance related to a recognised physical, psychological or developmental condition.
"This exemption would mean that anyone who requires such a dog would not need to pay the current licence fee as required for pet owners.
"I have met many people who have benefited greatly from the support provided by assistance animals and guide dogs.
"Many of the people who require such supports are already on a fixed budget and the small relief provided by not having to pay the dog licence fee would be a help to them and their families.
"It may also encourage other people who may require such supports to seek them out knowing that they will not incur the additional fee of the licence.
"The bill also provided an exemption for qualified people who are training assistance dogs.”