OMAGH DISTRICT council, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland has been described as the worst location in Britain for stray and unwanted dogs, and the statistics are there to prove it.
This accusation has come from Linda Hill who works on the front-line dealing with abandoned and unwanted animals every day with Canine Care in Gortrush Industrial Estate in Omagh.
According to Linda, the dog warden in Omagh is picking up eight or nine dogs a week which totals between 400 to 500 a year. Canine Care has the same annual figure which gives the District Council area somewhere in the region of 900 to 1,000 unwanted and lost dogs per annum.
A recent survey carried out by Dogs Trust revealed there are approximately 11,000 stray dogs in Northern Ireland, with at least 3000 of these having to be put down, the Omagh rate is disproportionately high considering there are 26 council areas. Linda feels this uneven geographical spread of stray dogs illustrates fully the severity of the problem in this area, as she declared, ‘Omagh District is one of the worst areas, not only in the North (of Ireland) but in all of the UK’.
She added: ‘We have had around 120 dogs this year so far, from those handed in, unwanted litters or simply from people who can no longer look after them properly. Out of these 30 have been re-homed and 50 transferred through the dogs trust to England.
‘The biggest advice I could have to people is to have their dogs, both male and female neutered to reduce unwanted litters,’ said Linda. ‘Also microchipping would help.
‘Dog ownership is a commitment and if you are only half-hearted about it I would say wait until you are truly ready to own a dog.
‘We appeal to people to have an open mind, do their homework to determine if they have the room and lifestyle to accommodate a dog before adopting a dog, so there is an environment that suits both the needs of the dog as well as the owners.’