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Council remind public that dogs are not just for Christmas

20 December 2018

Derry City and Strabane District Council have appealed to members of the public to think carefully before purchasing a puppy over the festive period and to consider all aspects before taking on such a large commitment.
Michael Duddy, Principal Dog Warden at Derry City and Strabane District Council appealed to members of the public to consider the daily responsibilities of dog ownership before making the decision to gift a puppy or bring one into your home.
“We know the gift of a puppy is very appealing at this time of year and could make a very special Christmas present for someone,” he said. “It is worth thinking twice and considering the responsibilities that come along with dog ownership though before you take that step.
“Owning a dog is a big commitment, with the average life span ranging up to fifteen years parents should be mindful and educate their children so they understand that owning a dog is a long-term commitment and often very demanding.
“Dogs need a lot of time and attention and can be expensive to keep with grooming, feeding and unexpected vet bills all costing money.
“There is also the daily responsibilities of having a dog such as ensuring it gets exercise, fed, groomed, trained and cleaned up after.
“They also need company just like us humans and can get bored and lonely very easily.
“Younger active dogs in particular need high levels of mental stimulation and constructive play. 
“Please also ensure that your dog never becomes a nuisance to your neighbour.”
Mr Duddy had specific advice for owners regarding what constitutes responsible ownership.
“A responsible dog owner is an owner who ensures the good welfare of his or her pet, keeps their dog under control at all times, never allows their dog to stray, disposes of their pets dog foul immediately and ensures that their dog does not cause nuisance through noise or odour. 
“The Department of Agriculture, Enterprise and Rural Affairs has produced a guide on Buying and Caring for a Puppy that is available on their website and this is a useful resource for anyone who is thinking of owning a puppy or a dog.
“Licensing is also an integral part of responsible dog ownership, all dogs with the exception of guide dogs, must have a valid dog licence.
“Before you get a dog or a puppy you must get a licence for it, even a puppy that stays with its mother must have a licence by the age of six months. 
“A full dog licence costs £12.50 however if you are on some income related benefits or your dog is sterilised this is reduced to £5 and if you are over 65 a dog licence is free for your first or only dog. 
“It is against the law not to licence your dog and Council may issue a Fixed Penalty of £75 if you fail to do this.”
Anyone licensing a dog should note that it is no longer possible to licence it without including its valid microchip number.
Micro chipping is considered a simple and safe modern identification method which is permanent and cannot be removed, therefore if someone was to steal your dog Council can attempt to trace it through its microchip.  
“If your dog is not already licensed or micro chipped maybe consider this as a gift for your pet this Christmas? Not only does it help our dog wardens reunite lost dogs with their owners but it also gives owners peace of mind in knowing if their dog is ever lost, there is an increased chance of finding it through our micro chipping system,” added Mr Duddy.  
Dog licenses are available online at the Council’s website http://www.derrystrabane.com/doglicence or can be purchased at Council Offices in Derry or Strabane. Alternatively, an application can be posted on request.
For further information on Animal Welfare visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/animal-welfare.
This provides information on buying and caring for animals and is a single source of information on animal welfare enforcement.  
It also helps members of the public to understand who to contact if they are concerned about the welfare of an animal.

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