Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust Ireland cautiously welcome decreasing numbers entering Irish Dog Pounds

As Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity, today we are sharing our reaction to the latest Irish Dog Pound Statistics released by the Department of Rural and Community Development. We recognise that although the latest figures from 2021 show a positive decrease in unwanted, euthanised and stray dogs in Irish pounds, that the current crisis rescue centres now face in 2022 is far worse.

The latest figures show an 2.3% decrease in dogs being euthanised, with a further decrease of 20.9% in the number of stray, and unwanted dogs entering Irish pounds, in 2021 in comparison to 2020. However, we fear that the volume of unwanted dogs is growing at a worrying rate this year as rescue centres across Ireland are full to capacity.

We are facing an unprecedented spike in requests to take unwanted dogs into our care, receiving an average of 8 requests every single day, since January this year. This is an alarming 40.9% increase on the same period in 2021. The Irish rescue and pound system are only starting to feel the pressure of post-pandemic ‘lock-down puppies’ and we fear these figures could keep growing.

Commenting on the report, Becky Bristow, Executive Director at Dogs Trust Ireland says

We must account for the fact that these figures are only recorded as far as December 2021, and not a true reflection on what we are experiencing at this present moment. 2021 was still an unusual year, with the country facing months of Covid restrictions, as well as a strong focus on working from home. Unfortunately, from our experience, the wave of unwanted dogs is far higher at present and is continuing to climb in 2022 as people return to their normal lifestyle.

We are facing one of the most difficult years for rescue and rehoming centres alike. Every day we are inundated with requests to take unwanted dogs and our resources are stretched to capacity.”

With an overwhelming volume of dogs being surrendered and abandoned each day, we have focused their efforts on our fostering programme to help address the issue of unwanted dogs. We are currently looking for foster families all across Ireland who can help by welcoming a dog into their home temporarily, while we search for a forever home for that dog. Fostering not only helps ease the pressure for rehoming centres by reducing the number of dogs we are providing daily care for, but it also helps free up kennel space so we can continue to rescue Ireland’s most vulnerable dogs and provide the rehabilitation and second chance they deserve. For anyone who is interested in fostering, please visit for more information.