The number of dogs in Irish pounds being “put to sleep” rose from 171 in 2021 to 340 in 2022.
Under the Control of Dogs Act, dogs who have completed their mandatory five-day stay in Irish dog pounds can be put down if the pound cannot rehome them or find a rescue with space to take them.
The number of stray dogs being admitted to pounds also rose from 4,165 to 7,352, according to the latest Irish Dog Control Statistics.
Dogs Trust Communications Manager Corina Fitzsimons said she is “particularly concerned” about the 95% increase in stray dogs in just one year.
“The real issue is that so far this year we have seen an unprecedented number of people surrendering their dogs,” she said.
“Dogs pounds all over the country are overwhelmed and unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough space at the moment.”
Returning to work
She said the aftermath of COVID lockdowns “absolutely” has influenced the explosion of number in Irish dog pounds.
“Unfortunately, many people are struggling with returning to work,” she said.
“They may be in the office more often than they were first told.”
Ms Fitzsimons said pounds often have to make the “difficult decision” to put some stray dogs down if they have been there for a long time the pound does not have enough space.
“What we want to prevent is dogs entering pounds in the first place, so we don’t have to make that decision,” she said.
“That’s all down to responsible dog ownership.”
The report also found there were 791 recorded incidents of “aggressive behaviour” from dogs, including damage to clothing and people physically injured.
Ms Fitzsimons said owners need to do more preventative work to prevent aggressive behaviour.
“People need to responsibly look after their dog,” she said.
“Make sure they're under affective control, have them on a lead if there’s other people or dogs around.”
Dogs Trust offers online classes and supports for dog owners that Ms Fitzsimons said will help prevent more dogs being sent to the pound.
“There is a rental crisis, an accommodation crisis, a cost-of-living crisis,” she said.
“There are so many reasons people are struggling with their dogs at the moment and we would urge them to please seek help.”