Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust Cautiously Welcomes the Continued Reduction in Destruction Rates in Irish Dog Pounds

Today saw the release of the latest Dog Control Statistics from 2018, by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The figures reveal a 21% decrease in the number of dogs destroyed in Irish pounds, from 916* in 2017 to 725* in 2018.

While this is a positive improvement, we are still concerned about the number of dogs still entering local authority pounds across Ireland. The statistics revealed that 9,848* dogs entered Irish pounds during 2018; this represents a 15% reduction on the 2017 figures. Although this number has decreased, it is still a worryingly high number of stray and abandoned dogs in Ireland and the focus needs to be on ascertaining why these dogs are entering the pound system in the first place and putting a clear prevention strategy in place. We firmly believe in a “prevention is better than cure” approach, which is why we concentrate on educating the public about responsible dog ownership and safety around dogs through our free Education programme and ‘Be Dog Smart’ campaign, as well as other preventative measures such as our subsidised neutering and microchipping campaigns. The aim of these initiatives is to ensure that the number of dogs entering Irish pounds continues to decrease.

In 2018, almost 27% of dogs entering Irish pounds were surrendered, a total of 2,642* dogs relinquished by their owners. This highlights the worrying issue Ireland is still facing with people taking on the responsibility of owning a dog without thinking about the long-term commitment it entails. In order to get a better understanding of and address the stray and surrendered dog situation in Ireland the detail behind the numbers is needed; the dogs’ breed, age, sex, microchip, neuter status and reason for relinquishment. This information could better inform more targeted and effective measures for government departments and rescue centres alike.

Of continuing concern to us is the number of registered greyhounds entering and dying in the pound system. Of the 113 greyhounds entering the pound system in 2018, 76 were surrendered by their owners and 35 were taken in as strays. Of the 113, a total of 53 were destroyed, which is a 33% decrease since 2017. There was a 15% increase in Greyhounds being rehomed from the pounds or being transferred to animal welfare groups, which was a factor in the decrease of destruction numbers. We once again calls on the owners and trainers of racing greyhounds to make adequate provision for their rehoming once their racing careers end.

Speaking about the latest figures, Suzie Carley, Executive Director at Dogs Trust said:

“Since we began our preventative work here in Ireland, we have seen a marked reduction in the number of dogs being put to sleep in local authority pounds across the country, from 48 to 2 dogs per day. However, even one dog put to sleep unnecessarily is one dog too many and we will continue our efforts to get this figure down to zero. To do this, we need to establish the root of the problem and ascertain why these dogs are entering the pounds in the first place. There are still a large number of dogs being rescued from local authority pounds by animal welfare groups, including Dogs Trust. We need to examine the underlying factors that cause people to abandon or surrender their dogs and work together to prevent these vulnerable animals from becoming homeless to begin with. It is imperative that a collaborative approach between the animal welfare sector, veterinary professional stakeholders, the Local Authority and the relevant Government Department is prioritised as a matter of urgency, to ensure that we protect our nation’s dogs long into the future.”

We actively work with Local Authority pounds and welfare charities across Ireland in order to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome stray and abandoned dogs. If you are considering getting a dog, why not give a stray or abandoned dog a second chance of love and life?

*Does not include registered greyhounds