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Irish pound defends killing of stray

AN IRISH dog pound has hit back at allegations that it put down a dog needlessly. Ashton Pound in Dublin was accused last week of putting down a ‘saved’ dog that was due to be rehomed two days later.

However, pound management refuted any allegations of wrongdoing and said the dog in question was put down by a vet based on veterinary advice and not "for the sake of it". Poplar Farm Kennels in Cambridgeshire, England, which operates as for rescue charity Dogs In Distress claimed that the dog, a GSD/Labrador cross who they named as ‘Butch’ - was killed in spite of assurances given to them.

The dog was found roaming in Corduff, Blanchardstown by the dog warden on July 25th and was then taken to Ashton dog pound where his owner had five days to reclaim him. Poplar say that two days later, Butch was photographed and listed on the internet by a volunteer from the rescue group, Dogs in Distress, and by August 1 he still had not been claimed.

Poplar claimed arrangements were made to bring Butch to Cambridgeshire and a volunteer from Dogs in Distress contacted the pound and booked the dog to be collected. It claimed that despite assurances from Ashton Dog Pound, Butch was put down three days before he was due to be collected, along with eight other strays.

David Linford from Poplar Farm Kennels said: "We were set on taking Butch and we were devastated when we heard he died."

However, Ashton Pound manager Donal Moroney dismissed these claims.

He told The Northside People that dogs at Ashton are put to sleep for valid reasons such as illness, or if the dog is vicious or has bitten people.

"If you look at the number of dogs we rehome, you can gather we are not putting down dogs for the sake of it," he said. "We are currently operating a massive rehoming programme."

Mr Moroney explained that of the 1,500 dogs received at Ashton since January, 82 per cent have been rehomed.

"Our staff are dedicated to getting the dogs out," he said. "For instance, we rehomed an old blind dog last week, why they [Poplar] are hitting on us I don’t know."

Butch was booked from the pound as ‘animal rescue’, which means the dog is released to an animal rescue organisation.

Mr Moroney said the dog was put to sleep on veterinary advice. He added that Poplar has at no point contacted the pound about the dog – nor has there been any correspondence from the organisation. He emphasised that Ashton is "not against animal rescue".

"We do not put any obstructions against them housing dogs," he said. "We try to get as many dogs rehomed as we can. No other pound in the country can say they rehome 82 per cent (of dogs)."

He claimed that Ashton is getting a "very bad press" which is "totally unjustified" and could be backed with figures.

Meanwhile, a North Dublin animal activist has expressed fears on the number of dogs currently being sent to England. Bernie Wright said that the whole of England is saturated with rehomed Irish dogs as there are no homes in Ireland for them. "Without England, there is no point in rescuing dogs," she said. "If we can’t send them to England there is nowhere else."

She said Irish people are no longer able or willing to home dogs. "It’s almost impossible to house dogs - people are living in apartments or busy working and nobody is at home during the day or simply people don’t want them," said Ms Wright.

"Abandoned dogs in Ireland are being destroyed in council-run pounds at a phenomenal rate, despite being offered refuge by animal welfare groups such as Dogs In Distress. In fact, statistics released by the Irish SPCA show that in Ireland, 7 out of every 10 stray and abandoned dogs are destroyed. This is ten times the rate in Cambridgeshire; only 7 out of every 100 dogs is destroyed."