Most dogs rescued by ISPCA destroyed
A LEADING animal welfare group last night defended its policies after figures showed its dog pounds put down three in every five of the animals it rescued.
Figures compiled by the Department of the Environment show pounds run by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) put down a higher percentage of dogs than pounds run by other charities.
But chief executive Noel Griffin said the figures did not tell the full story, pointing to the large numbers of dogs being exported to Britain in "appalling conditions".
"Our figures will probably always look worse but is it a matter of keeping animals alive regardless?" he asked. "I would say no."
In all, nine ISPCA pounds destroyed 59pc of dogs in 2009, the latest year for which official figures are available, compared with 38pc in 25 services overseen by local authorities.
Facilities operated by the ISPCA in Donegal and Roscommon were recorded as putting down 85pc and 80pc of the dogs under their care respectively
Wicklow was at the opposite end of the ISPCA record where only 34pc of the dogs it rescued were eventually destroyed, with the rest rehomed.
Non-ISPCA pounds found homes for all but a small number of their dogs.
In Leitrim, just 2pc were destroyed. In Louth it was 7pc, and in South Dublin 95pc were categorised as rehomed/ reclaimed.
Mr Griffin said the society took in an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 dogs each year, most of them seized or surrendered by their owners.
Their figures for the number put down would always be higher because they did not give dogs to other welfare groups to rehome in Britain, he added.
"We know for a fact that dogs are being exported in appalling conditions to the UK. If we also shipped dogs we would improve our figures."
The agencies involved could not honestly say they knew where the animals ended up.
"It's easy for people to knock us and say we could do more but we need to get a little less emotional and if anyone has a better suggestion we are open to it," Mr Griffin added.