Last year saw a significant decrease in the number of stray or abandoned dogs in Dublin being euthanised when compared to 2015.
Figures obtained from each of the council offices show how out of 1,423 dogs claimed by the four Dublin councils, 109 were put down; a 21 percent reduction from 2015’s figures which saw 138 stray dogs in Dublin being euthanised.
Dublin City Council had the lowest euthanasia rate with just under four percent of its claimed dogs being put down, with the majority of the rest either being reclaimed by owners, re-homed or taken to a dog welfare group.
Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown had the most successful reclaim rate with 33 percent of its claimed dogs finding homes again.
As well as a decrease in the number of stray dogs being put down, the overall number of stray dogs claimed by councils in 2016 slightly decreased from the previous year’s total. And the 1,516 stray dogs found in 2015 decreased by six percent to 1,423 by the end of 2016.
Despite this positive reduction, many problems regarding mistreatment and the large number of stray dogs still on the streets still need to be addressed.
Áine McAnally is a volunteer at Dogs Aid Animal Sanctuary, a charity set up to house, rehabilitate and rehome stray or abandoned dogs.
She said: “Education is going to be the most important tool to decrease the number of stray and abandoned dogs. Currently dogs are easy to come by, cheap to buy and so some people are able to discard them without thinking too much about it because there is no value put on the animal. People need to be educated regarding either neutering their dogs or being hyper vigilant when their dogs are in heat and allow no dog wander on their own.”
Despite the best efforts of shelters and dog charities such as Dogs Aid, the sheer amount of strays which are turned in on a yearly basis, even with a reduction in numbers, is still often too much for shelters to cope with. Shelters are often forced to refuse dogs due to lack of space, and ultimately this can result in the animal being put down.
“We work on the basis that we can only do what we can do. We have between 60 and 70 dogs in the sanctuary at any one time and about 30 core volunteers that help run the sanctuary. This is our capacity and we don’t go over that or the dogs will suffer. We take in as many dogs as we can, and as soon as a kennel space is available we fill that with another dog,” said McAnally.
Efforts by councils and shelters are responsible for an overall improvement in the 2016’s figure yet the problem of stray and abandoned dogs needs to be addressed at the source; the owners.
By Killian Dowling