On World Animal Day, National Census Reveals Crisis Point for Ireland's Homeless Dogs
In a groundbreaking effort to address a growing crisis, MADRA Dog Rescue shares the results of the first-ever national census of homeless dogs in Ireland for World Animal Day which takes place on the 4 October. This landmark census collects data from over 120 rescues and local authority dog pounds across the country, shining a light on the dire situation faced by these innocent animals.
MADRA, in collaboration with Galway County Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development, undertook the census which shows that there are currently 3227 dogs in rescues and pounds across Ireland. This number does not include the hundreds of dogs that are on waiting lists for a space in a shelter.
There are many contributing factors to the situation. The post-pandemic surge in abandonment and surrender continues. Dogs now at home on their own are under-socialised and can develop behavioural problems which owners can’t handle. The housing and cost of living crisis further exacerbates this with families finding it increasingly difficult to care for their pets. Carelessness and refusal to spay female dogs contributes to a huge amount of unwanted litters, particularly with collies and lurchers. These dogs often languish in pounds and rescue centres for months as they are often overlooked by people who want a pet dog. Rescues are also seeing an increase in dogs being surrendered and abandoned with complex and expensive medical needs.
The findings of this census underscore a pressing issue that demands nationwide attention and compassion. In recent years, there has been a concerning 95% increase in the number of stray dogs entering dog pounds, as reported by the Department of Rural & Community Development. In 2022, the number rose to a staggering 8,116 from 4,165 in the previous year. These statistics are a stark reminder of the urgency of the situation
While there are many heartwarming stories of loving families opening their homes, the harsh reality is that there are simply not enough homes. A spokesperson for MADRA said “after years of progress between rescues and pounds, and a huge effort to engage with and educate the public, it is heart-breaking to see the numbers of homeless dogs rising and animal welfare taking an enormous step backwards”.
The cycle of abandonment continues, and countless homeless dogs are left to face an uncertain future.
Ireland is at a crisis point. Dog Rescues and Local Authority pounds are full. It is vital that action is taken on a government and community level to halt the soaring situation. MADRA Dog Rescue urges the public to consider the following:
Opt to Adopt – Consider adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter. Give a homeless dog a second chance at a loving home.
Spay and Neuter – Support and promote responsible pet ownership by spaying and neutering your pets. This helps control the population of homeless animals.
Educate and Consider the Commitment – Before bringing a dog into your life, carefully consider the lifelong commitment to dog ownership. Education and preparation are key to reducing surrenders.
MADRA along with every other Irish rescue, dreams of a day when they are no longer needed. Imagine a future where every dog has a loving home, where abandonment is a thing of the past. Together, we can make this dream a reality.
Join MADRA Dog Rescue on World Animal Welfare Day as we take a stand for these voiceless companions. Together, we can build a brighter future for homeless dogs across Ireland.
For more information, please contact Dawn Divilly or Marina Fiddler.
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