Northern Ireland

30% drop in number of dogs put to sleep by councils

A stray dog Image copyright Dogs Trust
Image caption Only 286 dogs had to be put down in NI this year, 30% fewer than in 2015

The number of dogs being put down by councils in Northern Ireland has decreased by 30% in the last year.

Of 5,515 stray dogs picked-up by councils in Northern Ireland, only 286 had to be put to sleep, compared to 409 last year.

The total number of stray and abandoned dogs in Northern Ireland has also fallen; from 5,653 in 2015.

Although almost half of the dogs recovered were reunited with their owners, many live in rescue centres.

"This year's Stray Dog Survey shows good news for Northern Ireland," said Ronnie Milsop, Dogs Trust Campaigns Manager for Northern Ireland.

"Whilst it's positive that the number of dogs put to sleep by local authorities has decreased, any dog destroyed for want of a home is one dog too many.

"We work very closely with the Local Authorities who should be commended on their efforts to encourage responsible dog ownership through neutering, microchipping and education over the past year."

Limited spaces

Dogs that are picked up by the council are held at pounds for seven days.

After that councils must re-home the animals or find spaces for them in rescue centres.

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Media captionStray dogs at the Ballymena Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre

Each council area has different resources and a limited number of spaces.

If room cannot be found for an animal they have to be put down.

Microchipping success

Almost a third of this year's stray and abandoned dogs were reported to have microchips, which accounts for the high number of pets that were reunited with their owners.

Image caption The microchipping a procedure accounts for many animals being reunited with their owners

Microchipping is a procedure carried out a a veterinary practice. A tiny microchip is inserted under the animal's skin.

This chip gives the pet a unique code that can be scanned and matched to the owner's contact details, which are kept on a database.

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