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Number of dogs being put down in pounds doubled in a year

Dogs Trust said there is a ‘crisis’ of unwanted dogs in Ireland.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 4th 2023, 12:11 PM

THE NUMBER OF dogs being euthanised in pounds has doubled in a year, according to Dogs Trust.

The charity has said that it is concerned about the number of abandoned dogs across the country.

According to figures from the Department of Rural and Community Development, 340 dogs were put down in 2022, more than twice as many as were put down in 2021.

Dogs who have completed their mandatory five-day stay in a pound can be euthanised to create space if a home cannot be found for them, under the Control of Dogs Act.

Dogs Trust said the number of dogs entering pounds is also on the rise, from 4,165 in 2021 to 7,352 in 2022.

Pandemic

Speaking to The Journal, Corina Fitzsimons, PR & Communications Manager at Dogs Trust, said that this rise could be attributed to the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

“People they may have thought, for example, they were going to be a home for two, three, four days a week. And now they’re being asked to go back to the office full time or more days a week and they’re concerned that their dog isn’t going to get enough attention.”

She said dog owners in this position should look for alternative solutions before surrendering their dog, such as dog sitters or walkers who can tend to it a few times a week or month.

“Have you had any friends, family or even neighbours in the area [who could mind your dog]?.

“Because the amount of people that we speak to in Dogs Trust, who are retired for example, and say: ‘I love dogs so much, but I go on holidays quite often … those people love to mind dogs.”

Fitzsimons added that the cost-of-living crisis is leading to “absolutely heartbreaking” situations where people faced with homelessness have to give up their dog.

Another concern Dogs Trust has is the 95% increase of stray dogs entering pounds, from 4,165 the previous year to 7,352 in 2022.

As part of the information released, the department also published the number of official complaints from members of public who reported dog aggressive behaviours. Some 791 incidences of aggressive behaviour were recorded while the number of people physically injured by dogs, which includes damage to clothing, was 308.

‘Crisis’

Suzie Carley, Executive Director at Dogs Trust Ireland, said: “As these figures are from 2022, they do not fully reflect the unwanted dog crisis animal welfare charities are currently facing.

“From January until the end of July 2023, we have dealt with 2,379 cases of people seeking to relinquish their dogs into our care. This is an average of more than 11 requests per day, and a 41% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

“The upsetting reality is that due to the sheer volume of unwanted dogs, there simply isn’t enough space to house the dogs that are being surrendered, and our own services cannot keep up with the demand.

“We, like many other organisations are completely overwhelmed and sadly fear that this is only going to get worse.”

Dogs Trust has renewed its appeal for foster families to rehome unwanted dogs. The charity said fostering not only gives a dog a chance to experience home life, but it also allows a kennel space to be freed up.

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