Report shows 1,824 dogs were euthanised last year, with highest numbers in Wexford
Irish Times, July 3rd 2016
by Aine McMahon
Five stray or unwanted dogs were put down in pounds every day last year, new figures have revealed.
Reports from councils around the country show 1,824 pets were put down in 2015, a fall of more than a third on the previous year.
The Department of Environment said the highest euthanasia numbers were in Wexford where 232 dogs were put down, 204 in Limerick city and county, and 201 in Cork County.
Kilkenny and Carlow put the least amount of dogs down after reducing the number of dogs being put down to 12 across the two counties.
Others with strong records were Leitrim where only two dogs were put down, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown where five dogs were put to sleep, and Cavan which recorded seven dogs put down.
The report showed the most on-the-spot fines for breaches of the Control of Dogs Act for offences such as not muzzling a restricted breed or having no licence or identity tags were issued in Cork, where 2,143 people were prosecuted.
Overall there was a 10 per cent fall in the number of dogs sent to the pound – down to 13,051 last year, including 3,437 animals which were handed over by their owners.
Mark Beazley, executive director of animal welfare charity Dogs Trust, said 37 canines are sent to a pound every day.
“When a dog is picked up by a dog warden and enters the dog system as a stray, the pound has an obligation to keep the dog for 5 days in case the owner comes forward looking for their pet,” said Mr Beazley.
“However, when a dog is handed over by its owner, as 3,437 were last year, the pound has no legal obligation to keep it for any length of time and the dog could be put to sleep the same day. The majority of these dogs are healthy animals surrendered by their owners who cannot or, in some cases, will not care for their pet any more,” he said.
Mr Beazley said Dogs Trust never destroys a healthy dog and called on dog owners to be responsible by neutering and microchipping their pet.
“Dogs Trust runs affordable neutering and microchipping campaigns throughout the year enabling members of the public to have their dogs neutered and microchipped for free or at a subsidised price,” he said.
Dogs Trust also raised the ongoing concern of the number of greyhounds which retire from racing without a home – about 1,600 a year.
Mr Beazley urged people in the sport to think about finding a home for the dogs, and for animal lovers to consider taking them in as pets.