dogged | 

Overcrowding in Irish dog pounds and shelters ‘worst we’ve seen in a decade’

“There is just nowhere for the dogs to go.”

A new dog shelter provider for Dublin's four local authorities was appointed to take over on October 1

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan has revealed Ireland’s dog pound and shelters are hitting their breaking point.

A surge in people giving their dogs away after the pandemic has sent pounds and shelters into a spiral as “there is just nowhere for the dogs to go”.

Senator Boylan appeared on Newstalk’s Breakfast Briefing this morning to raise some stark statistics.

“Fourteen [shelters] in the last three weeks have announced that they have no more space to take in dogs and on Monday, five shut down in single day,” she said.

“So, this is a disaster obviously for the dogs that are in there.

"The staff are under pressure but equally for any more dogs that people are surrendering or that are straining – there is just nowhere for the dogs to go and we haven’t been in this situation for over a decade in Ireland.

“It is really, really concerning.”

Senator Boylan called on the Government to intervene and provide supports for shelters, blaming a post-pandemic surge in surrender requests and the housing crisis as the main cause for overcrowding.

Without accommodation, dog owners are forced to surrender their pets, she claimed.

Last month, Pete “The Vet” Wedderburn told Newstalk Breakfast of the heart breaking amounts of unloved pups overwhelming shelters across the country.

"Ireland has always produced too many unwanted dogs for the size of our population,” he said.

"Unfortunately, when they went back to work [after the pandemic], they had less time for dogs.

"Some of them had discovered that actually keeping a dog wasn’t what they thought; it involved more work and more expense.

“I think especially with the cost-of-living crisis going through just now, what a lot of families are finding is that [if] they have one health crisis with their pet, the vet bills can push them into debt.

“Then they worry about that happening again. So, I think the message is, before you get a dog, you should budget for what the health costs could be.

“The best way of doing that is to get pet insurance and that way you pay €20, €25 a month and if there’s a health crisis, your family doesn’t get pushed into debt.”

In August, Galway shelter Madra confessed it is overwhelmed by surrender requests, saying the cost of living crisis has knock-on effects.

“We’re had a few vets contacting us where the owner of the dog cannot afford basic vetcare,” she said wearily.

“They can’t afford to pay their insurance premiums for vet insurance. The knock on effect is that more and more dogs are in trouble.”


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