ISPCA and UCD launch Survey on Perceptions of Responsible Dog Ownership in Ireland

The ISPCA and the School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin ispcalaunched a new report this week titled, ‘A Survey on Perceptions of Responsible Dog Ownership in Ireland.’ The report, compiled by Catherine Devitt, Locksley Messam, Andrew Kelly and Alison Hanlon, outlines the findings of a pilot study building a profile of dog ownership, and capturing the perceptions of responsible dog ownership in Ireland.

The ISPCA was delighted to partner with UCD on this important project, funded by the Irish Research Council and The Wheel through the New Foundations programme, and look forward to working with like-minded institutions to further explore how humans and pets interact in Ireland.

ISPCA CEO Dr. Andrew Kelly said, “Research like this is so important for the ISPCA to help us understand perceptions of responsible dog ownership and inform future targeted education schemes to where it is most needed. The ISPCA already campaigns on issues like neutering, microchipping, and appropriate care for pets in Ireland, and to have research that gives us a clearer picture of what to focus on next is invaluable. We would like to thank Catherine Devitt, Locksley Messam and Alison Hanlon for their expertise and efforts on the project, and hope to work with UCD again in a similar capacity.”

The findings in the report include that 84% of dog owners surveyed reported that their dog was neutered, and 85% reported that their dog was microchipped, a legal requirement for all dogs over the age of 12 weeks. When asked about where they acquired their dog, 42% of dog owners acquired their dog from a breeder, 23% from a breeder offline and 19% from an online breeder. Taking into account both dog owning respondents and non-dog owners, 30% of all respondents were unaware that it is unlawful for an owner to abandon their dog indicating a lack of understanding of dog owners’ legal responsibilities under the Animal Health and Welfare Act and other relevant legislation.

UCD Associate Professor Dr. Alison Hanlon said, “This exploratory study provides an insight into societal perceptions towards dog ownership and highlights areas for future research such as the sourcing of puppies and dogs online and the implications that this has for dog welfare.”

The full report can be found on the ISPCA website,