Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have dealt with almost 400 stray and unwanted dogs in the county over the past year, new figures reveal.
Between July 2015 and June of this year, 233 stray and 151 unwanted dogs were lifted across Fermanagh by the Council’s Dog Warden. Of these 25 were sold, 102 were reclaimed and 113 were destroyed with the remainder being transferred to animal shelters.
Despite the high figure, the Council’s Dog Warden confirmed that there has been no significant change in the number of abandoned and lost dogs lifted in Fermanagh in the past number of years.
Local vet Maeve Lunny of the Brook Veterinary Clinic has also noticed that the numbers are significantly down on previous years.
“We have been doing dog neutering since 2001 through the Dog’s Trust. Since then there has been a definite decrease in stray dogs, which proves the point that neutering does count. The mandatory micro-chipping has also improved the situation so it’s good news. If we could get every animal micro-chipped and neutered the situation would be even better. We still need to make people realise that the advantages of this far outweigh the disadvanatges. As a rule there are more issues with dogs that are not not neutered notwithstanding the overpopulation problem.”
Ms Lunny puts the reduction down to more responsible pet ownership: “It’s not that people are intentionally cruel but years ago they weren’t quite as aware of the importance of neutering. Despite this decrese, there is still a large population of dogs in Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary that haven’t been re-homed.
“The good news is that the picture is improving and that’s down to neutering and micro-chipping. The Council don’t want to put down a healthy dog and will always try to re-home as much as possible,” Ms Lunny added.
Under the Dogs (NI) Order 1983, all dog owners are required to possess a valid dog licence which must be renewed on an annual basis. This is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner as the dog must be microchipped before a dog licence can be obtained in order to help Council Officers and local vets return lost dogs to their owners.
It is an offence for any person to keep a dog without having a valid dog licence and a fixed penalty notice for £80 may be issued. Anyone found guilty of such an offence faces a court fine of up to £1000. Stray and unwanted dogs are available for rehoming directly from the Council’s Dog Pound for a £10 rehoming fee.
“Anyone planning to take on to own a dog should consider all the requirements of caring for a dog, feeding, training, exercising etc. before purchasing or otherwise acquiring a dog. We also advise that micro-chipping of the animal is required before a dog licence is issued,” a council spokesman added.
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