DOG OWNERS ARE surrendering their pets to pounds and rescue organisations to avoid forking over money for a kennel while they go away on holidays this summer.
New figures show almost 2,000 dogs were put down last year, and while the figure has dropped by 10% since 2014, Dogs Trust executive director Mark Beazley said the reasons owners give up their dogs are as sad and trivial as ever.
“Sadly, we see this time of year people saying they’ve two weeks’ holidays and they didn’t realise how expensive the kennels were so the dog ends up in a dog pound. It’s a sad reason to see a dog in a pound.”
Particularly for families, what kind of message does that send to children about responsibility?
Figures from the Department of Environment show 1,824 unwanted dogs were put down in 2015. In total, there were more than 13,000 unwanted dogs and the majority were either re-homed or reclaimed from a pound or were transferred to dog welfare groups.
Last year, 203 of the unwanted dogs put down were greyhounds, of a total of 366 who were seized, surrendered or stray.
The majority of these dogs were surrendered by their owners and Beazley said this shows the total lack of responsibility taken by some people in the greyhound industry, who will abandon a dog as soon as it is too old to race or has been injured.
Of those 366 that enter pounds, 300 were surrendered by their owners. These aren’t stray greyhounds being picked up off the street, the owners are making a conscious decision to hand them over to the pound.
“We’ve been saying that greyhound owners need to take the responsiblity to rehome their greyhounds once they’ve finished their racing career,” he added.
Most of the greyhounds who were saved were taken on by welfare organisations – just 19 were either rehomed or reclaimed.
There are still misconceptions about greyhounds, Beazley said, that deter people from picking them as pets.
However, they are actually very placid dogs and need only a short burst of exercise before they curl up for the rest of the day. This makes them an ideal pet for people living in apartments.
Beazley said there is now a greater awareness among the general public of the merits of adopting a rescue dog, rather than buying from breeders.
“We’re not going to have pedigree dogs in there, in many cases it’s the cross breeds that come in here but we fully realise that some people do want to get a pedigree dog,” he said.
He advised those looking for a particular dog to educate themselves beforehand so they know what to ask a breeder for, and to ensure they are not buying animals from a puppy farm.