Charities and shelters struggle as NI faces five-year high in levels of unwanted dogs

An animal charity has warned that increasing numbers of unwanted but  healthy dogs will be needlessly put down because they can’t be rehomed.Causeway Coast Dog Rescue (CCDR) says that charities are "in crisis with nowhere to go" as the number of unwanted dogs in Northern Ireland has risen by 75%.

There were 875 dogs recorded as such in 12 months leading up to March 2023 according to the Department for the Environment (DAERA).

The rapid increase has resulted in some dogs having to be put to sleep, with 38 being humanely euthanised last year.

Some council districts are harder hit than others; in Mid Ulster there were 304 dogs given up.

The highest number of unwanted dogs in the last five years was recorded in 2017, with 1124.

The number declined to a low during covid, but has been rising since the pandemic.

Penny has found a happy home, but many other dogs are struggling to do so in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Penny, a three legged pup, was one dog who struggled to find a home.

Her broken back left leg went untreated and had to be amputated.

Things turned around for Penny when she was adopted by Delma Gardner, who has given the fluffy tripod a happy forever home.

Delma says Penny means "everything" to her, and says she has brought her great joy.

Causeway Coast Dog Rescue (CCDR) say that the charity faces a "barrage of calls" each day to take in Dogs, and that their staff are subject to abuse by some callers.

“Local government no longer take these dogs in," said Tara Cunningham from the charity, "and so it is left to charities to pick up the pieces that councils don’t deliver as a service.“This morning, volunteers have telephoned every charity we know for help, and those we don’t, with the aim of saving some dogs which are coming in.

"If we don’t take them, the alternative is that we are worried the owners sell them on for breeding, or they go direct to the vets for euthanasia. 

"Unfortunately this is a regular occurrence. It is a horrific position to be in, to decide on which dogs to save.“CCDR is calling out for potential foster carers to come forward. Even the private kennels we have contacted are full because of the holiday season so we cant even pay to use them which is what we have been doing in the past.”

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