CLARE dog warden and chair of the ISPCA in the county, Frank Coote has revealed that less than 20 dogs were put down at the county dog pound in 2017. This figure compares to several hundred in 2016 and 1,500 per annum at one stage.
When he started in his role, Mr Coote said, more dogs were being put down in Clare than anywhere in Europe.
“I’ve never seen it any better. We didn’t have to put down a dog for three months at one stage. In total, we put down 19 dogs in 2017, whereas we used to put down 600 to 700 in previous years in the pound alone,” he explained.
“I was putting down 1,500 dogs one time. That’s what was happening. That was about 10 years ago. I used to put down 35 to 40 dogs every Friday. The vet has been in three times in the last month and they were all for vaccination, microchip and welfare issues.
“The improvement we have seen with the dogs is mind-blowing. We had the highest record in Europe for putting down dogs; now we have one of the best records. When I started first, there were 18,000 dogs a year being put down in Ireland and, in Clare, we had the highest figure in the country. There were dogs being put down every day of the week,” he said.
Frankie Coote attributes the improvement in figures to help from local animal rescue groups, including Baby Dog Rescue, Scar, Burren Rescue and An Cat Dubh.
“We’ve all pulled together and helped each other. In Clare, we’re fairly well on top of it but you can never stop. Martina Flaherty from the local rescue group (Baby Dog Rescue) has got involved with us. The figure was between 300 to 500 and the current figure wasn’t over 20. It was our best year ever and also, from the welfare side of it, we’ve had less prosecutions.”
Mr Coote pointed out that many animals die of natural causes throughout the year, which is sometimes not highlighted, when figures are compiled.
“Sometimes, people don’t realise that 100,000 animals a year die on farms. Any cruelty cases we have are mostly going back a few years. Things have improved hugely and the Department of Agriculture is very involved in the welfare of animals. They work almost like welfare inspectors,” he concluded.