Cork County Council and dog charities seek to cut deaths of strays

A special meeting is to be held shortly between dog charities in Cork and the county council in an effort to reduce the number of strays being put down.

County mayor Alan Coleman has invited 11 charities that deal with dogs to a meeting in County Hall. They will also discuss problems of excessive dog fouling in public places.

He took the initiative after it was disclosed that a far higher percentage of stray dogs are put down in Co Cork than anywhere else in the country.

The issue was recently highlighted by a group of local animal lovers who have lobbied councillors to act.

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Figures from Animal Welfare Cork (AWC) showed that 66% of all strays brought in by Cork County Council dog wardens were put down.

Their claims were based on information for 2013, which showed the local authority’s 11 part-time wardens collected 592 strays.

A total of 391 were put to sleep. The remainder were either reclaimed by their owners or transferred to rescue centres and managed to find a new home.

AWC compared the situation to Co Wexford, which employs one full and one part-time warden, the busiest county when it came to dealing with strays.

In the same year, they collected 1,254 strays, putting down 441, which represents a 35% death rate.

Even better survival rates were found in Co Leitrim where 585 strays were brought in, about the same as in Cork. However, just seven dogs (1.2%) died and the majority of the rest were found new homes.

The 2013 figures showed that, nationwide, local authorities took in 15,743 stray dogs, of which 3,516 were killed — making the national average 22.33%, around a third of the Cork county figures.

AWC said it was alarming that Cork County Council did not advertise stray dogs it farms out to privately owned pounds, making it less likely they would be reunited with their owners, and has asked why other local authorities looked to be doing a better job.

Mr Coleman, a dog owner, said he was concerned about the number of deaths.

“We want to put protocols in place and work with the dog charities to get more animals rehoused.”

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