The leading animal charity Dogs Trust says its very concerned by the soaring levels of abandoned dogs in Ireland.
The latest statistics shows that the number of dogs being euthanised in pounds has doubled with 340 in 2022, more than twice as many dogs, compared to 2021.
Under the Control of Dogs Act, dogs who’ve completed the mandatory five day stay in a pound, can be euthanised to create space, if it cannot be rehomed or rescued.
Another concern is a 95% increase in stray dogs entering pounds, from 2,592 the previous year to 5,045 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. 791 incidences of aggressive behaviour were recorded while the number of people physically injured, which includes damage to clothing, was 308.
Commenting on the report, Corina Fitzsimons, PR & Communications Manager at Dogs Trust says:
“While Dogs Trust welcomes the additional information provided this year, more in-depth data is required to understand and address the causes of these incidents and most importantly, to prevent them occurring in the first instance.
Ms. Fitzsimons says educating the public is essential in averting or reverting the current trends as seen and evidenced in the latest figures:
We believe that education and early interventions are key to preventing unwanted behaviour and keeping people safe around dogs. A 2022 survey we carried out revealed that only 41% of people could recognise a dog displaying apprehensive body language. We offer free online workshops for adults on the basics of understanding dog body language, while also visiting schools to deliver free workshops to children about safe and kind behaviours around dogs.”
Suzie Carley, Executive Director at Dogs Trust Ireland says it’s a depressing state of affaires:
“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.
She adds that space is at a premium and better management is needed:
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. One positive we can take from the statistics is that thankfully, there does appear to be an increase in the number of dogs being rehomed directly from the pounds. However, this still isn’t enough to keep up with the volume of unwanted dogs in the country.”
Dogs Trust have made a plea to would be adopters:
As the volume of people looking to surrender their dogs continues to soar, we are renewing our plea for foster families. We rehome dogs across Ireland and is desperate for families who can help ease the pressure by welcoming a dog into their home, even on a temporary basis. Fostering not only gives a dog a chance to experience home life, but it allows us to free-up a kennel space, so we can continue to rescue Ireland’s most vulnerable dogs and provide the rehabilitation and second chance they deserve. Please see www.DogsTrust.ie/Fostering for more information.