Exclusive By Mark O’Brien
AN online petition has gained almost 5,000 signatures from animal lovers calling for dog pounds across Ireland to stop putting down restricted dogs, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Currently Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Japanese Akitas and a number of other pets fall under the Government’s Restricted Dogs list.
Under the legislation they must be muzzled in public and be held by a chain or lead when outside – and as restricted dogs some pounds are not rehoming the dogs when they are rescued.
A statement on the petition reads: “A number of dog pounds throughout Ireland do not permit the rehoming of restricted breeds, eg Roscommon, Dublin, Donegal.
“Other pounds are unwilling to state whether they do or not permit rehoming. All dogs should be treated equally; breed specific restrictions have serious ethical and welfare implications.
“Standards and kill rates vary significantly in pounds across Ireland. Leitrim saved 100 per cent of dogs while Limerick killed 48 per cent of dogs.
“We are calling for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) and DogsTrust Ireland to actively work with the Department for the Environment and the Department of Agriculture to implement a welfare based policy in all pounds which permits the responsible re-homing of restricted dog breeds throughout Ireland.
“Every dog deserves a chance – irrespective of breed.”
However, Bridie Bergin, a volunteer rescuer for the ISPC in Tipperary said though she is an animal lover and does not want to see any dogs put down, there is a difficulty in rehoming thedogs on a practical level.
“We can’t rehome restricted breeds in Ireland because no-one wants them and they’re considered by some people dangerous to children but once they go in to pounds they are put down.
“We, who volunteer in animal rights, don’t agree with any animal being put down but they are restricted and can’t be rehomed.
“In England there’s no problem homing these dogs but in Ireland they aren’t wanted and we might be talking about beautiful, kind, gentle dogs – who have a reputation they often don’t deserve.
“The restricted dogs can be gorgeous animals – but this is down to how they are treated by their owners.”
Bridie said a Staffordshire breed of dog had been pictured abandoned in recent days in Tipperary town and she was concerned now for its future.
“These dogs are often abandoned by their owners and let run wild. The future isn’t good for them then. It isn’t the way any animal lover would want the dogs to be treated.”
If you want to support the petition log on to https://www.change.org/p/ispca-irish-society-for-the-prevention-of-cruelty-to-animals-dogs-trust-ireland-minister-for-the-environement-minister-for-agriculture-implement-a-breed-neutral-rehoming-policy-in-all-pounds