Pound Statistics 2005-2013

This year’s statistics for Irish dog pounds have just been published by environ.ie. Folk seemed to find the analysis I did last year pretty useful so I figure I’ll do the same thing again. As a result, while the figures are slightly different, the text may not have changed much. I’m gonna crack open a bottle of wine to give me the strength, so let’s just hope it doesn’t take me too long or who knows what I’ll come up with!

Again, I’ve pulled the annual stats for Cork City, Cork County and Nationwide to have a wee look at what they might mean. You can see the itemised stats for the other counties, and more information generally, by checking the published figures.

For each area, I’m most interested in the number of dogs dealt with by the pound(s) and the percentage killed per day/per week compared to the percentage rehomed/passed to rescues and previous years.

Note that rehomed/reclaimed are quite different things. The official stats don’t separate the two and, for clarity, really should.

And, though the figures have mercifully decreased, they still stop my heart. The bottom line?

Nationwide an average of 10 dogs were killed every day in pounds in 2013 – that’s 68 living creatures, bred to rely on humans for their care, killed every week.

Every one of us is responsible for that figure.

The figures illustrate a 22% drop on last year. And it’s worth keeping in mind how much Ireland has moved on from 2005 when the figures read 35 dogs per day/318 per week. But we’ve still got a long way to go.

Cork City

Since last year I’ve come to the conclusion that the CSPCA is the city pound – it certainly operates the dog control in the city. So I’m glad to have sorted that out.

Cork City to 2013

Points to Highlight

  • 40 dogs were in the pound at the start of the year and 618 were surrendered in 2013.
    • That’s an average of 11 dogs a week, 1 a day, abandoned by their guardians. It goes without saying that that number, while lower than last year, is too high.
    • I find it hard to believe that the number of dogs abandoned in 2013 are 180 less than 2012 – I’ve seen no evidence of the numbers dropping and would love to know how this came about. Less dumping? Or more being picked up by rescue, rather than the pound? The latter aifinkso. It would be really, really interesting to analyse these figures against the local (and national) rescue figures.
  • 0 were seized
    • Am still wondering why not. Is the pound not doing it’s job in cruelty cases etc? Or is it no longer the job of the pound? Interesting.
  • 624 dogs were rehomed, killed, passed to rescues or died by natural causes in the Cork pound in 2012, leaving 34 on hand at the end of the year.
  • Only 14 dogs, that’s 2% of the companions dealt with by the pound, were transferred to rescue. This could simply be because CSPCA are doing a better job?
  • 60 dogs, 10% of the total dealt with, were killed – compared with 64/8% in 2012.
    • Compared to 48% in 2005, this is a huge step forward. It’s still not good enough, but the change has to be acknowledged. I’d imagine it’s mostly fuelled by rescues and individuals encouraging the pounds, and the nation as a whole, to treat companion animals with humanity. I’d like to see the kill rate down to 0%.
    • This is equivalent to an average of 1 dog killed a week, compared to 1 dog killed a day in 2005.
  • 539 dogs, 86%, were rehomed/reclaimed. (I’d very much like to see a breakdown of those two – how many rehomed? Reclaimed?)
    • Note that no tracking is done on the rehoming success rate. I’m assuming (oops! shouldn’t assume) that the pound does not home check simply because they didn’t the last time I checked, nor follow up on their rehomed companions. How many end up in the pound again? Or in rescue? Or dead?
  • 11 dogs, 2%, died from natural causes.
    • This doesn’t seem like a huge number to me to be honest. Working in rescue, the companions that cross our doorsteps are often in very bad condition. No-kill shelters will make more of an effort (and spend a great deal of money) nursing these animals back to full health. But even they can’t always help – we’re often just too late. So 2% natural causes seems very reasonable, if not low, for a kill shelter that will kill animals that could have a chance at life with time and expense.
    • Just like last year, I realise that I’m not sure what the pounds count as ‘natural causes’ – I’m assuming (again) this includes animals euthanased because it’s considered kinder. If it’s simply animals that die without veterinary assistance … that shouldn’t really be happening. Note to self: must find out what they mean by ‘natural causes’.

Cork County

I’m doing some more assuming here and thinking Cork County will be not much different from other counties, having a variety of dog wardens (11 part time wardens in total) practicing a variety of standards. Some will be well aware of animal welfare issues, many will work with their local animal welfare organisations, but, sadly, some will operate as ‘animal control’ with little concern for their trusting charges. The data for the county is obviously generalised across this range of service provision – meaning that it doesn’t allow for analysis of that range.

I have to repeat that we have a good relationship with our local dog warden. And we’re working on making it better! He processes stray dogs we pick up so that we can legally rehome them within five days of finding them (otherwise we’d have to wait a year and a half – srsly!). And he passes dogs to us for rehoming when he feels it’s appropriate. Many of his dogs go to the Cork pound to be sent on to the Dog’s Trust in Dublin for rehoming. I highly recommend rescues try to work with their local dog warden, regardless of his attitude (ours is a sweetie luckily) – in the end it’s the best thing we can do for the animals.

Also keep in mind that in West Cork none of the dog wardens that I know of have a microchip scanner – I’m guessing that will change when the new compulsory microchipping laws come in. At least I hope it will – pretty pointless if it doesn’t! But the current situation means that many dogs who should be easily returned to their guardian are not. I can’t imagine the situation is much different elsewhere.

Cork County to 2013

Points to Highlight

  • 5 dogs were in the various warden’s kennels at the start of the year and 583 were surrendered in 2013
    • That’s an average of 11 dogs a week, under 2 a day, abandoned by their guardians. Again, it goes without saying that that number is far too high.
  • 4 were seized
    • Am still wondering why so few.
  • 583 dogs were rehomed, killed, passed to rescues or died by natural causes in the Cork pound in 2012, leaving 2 on hand at the end of the year.
  • 108 dogs, that’s 19% of the companions dealt with by the wardens, were transferred to rescue.
  • 391 dogs, 67%, were killed.
    • Compared to 84% in 2005, this is a step forward for sure – but only because the 2005 figure is so horrendous! More than half the dogs taken in to care by the country wardens are killed. More than half! That’s not as appalling as the 2005 figure – but it’s still appalling. And it’s more than the 2012 figure.
    • This is equivalent to an average of 1 dog killed a day or 8 a week. That’s better than the average of 3 dogs per day/20 per week in 2005 – but it’s still shocking.
  • 82 dogs, 14%, were rehomed/reclaimed.
    • This is shockingly low.
  • 2dogs died from natural causes.
    • Which seems odd. I can only reiterate, we need to know what ‘natural causes’ means.

Nationwide

Nationwide, same as Cork County, we’re going to have a wide range of practice in warden kennels and pounds. And we’ve already seen a marked difference between the stats for Cork City and Cork County. These National figures show the averages across the land.

Nationwide to 2013

Points to Highlight

  • 202 dogs were in the various pounds & warden’s kennels at the start of the year and 8813 were surrendered in 2013
    • That’s an average of 169 dogs a week, 24 a day, abandoned by their guardians. It’s easy to grasp the enormity of the situation when you see the national figures. Just to be clear, on average in 2013 twenty four dogs were abandoned every day by their people.
  • 6668 were seized
    • Looks like some counties are doing their jobs anyway.
  • 15550 dogs were rehomed, killed, passed to rescues or died by natural causes nationally in 2013, leaving 242 on hand at the end of the year.
  • 6013 dogs, that’s 39% of the companions dealt with by the pound, were transferred to rescue. That figure’s a good bit higher than either of the Cork figures and means several pounds/wardens are working well with rescues (keep in mind this is an average across the board).
  • 3516 dogs, 23%, were killed.
    • Compared to 65% (16546 dogs) in 2005, this is a step forward for sure. But (see my previous comments on the Cork figures) it’s not good enough.
    • This is equivalent to an average of 10 dogs killed a day or 68 a week. That’s better than the average of 35 dogs per day/318 per week in 2005 – but – guess what? – it’s still shocking.
  • 5867 dogs, 38%, were rehomed/reclaimed.
  • 104 dogs, 0.7%, died from natural causes.

Greyhounds

Again, I haven’t time (or have had too much wine?) to do a detailed analysis on the greyhound statistics, but did want to post something about the difference in treatment these guys get.

Greyhound Stats for Ireland 2013

Points to Highlight

  • Does ‘those bearing ear identification tatoos [still spelt wrongly!]’ mean greyhounds/lurchers without those tattoos [spelt right!] are not included in these stats? This is just my own ignorance.
  • Greys obviously have different treatment in the pounds:
    • In 13 of the 26 pounds that took in greys, more than 50% were killed. 6 of those pounds as good as killed 100% of the greys they took in (Clare (97%), Cork County, Galway City, North Tipperary, South Tipperary & Waterford City).
    • The pounds with smaller kill rates either only took in 1-3 greys, or passed most of them to rescues.
  • As a result, I’d be very interested to see a breakdown of the stats according to breed. How do the ‘dangerous breeds’ fair, I wonder.

Summary

Well, I hope that’s all clearer than mud! Just going to pull together a few of the points here for ease of reference.

Nationwide

  • An average of 169 dogs were abandoned by their guardians every week in 2013; that’s 24 a day
  • An average of 10 dogs were killed every day in pounds in 2013, the equivalent of 68 living creatures killed every week.
  • At least we’ve moved on from 2005 when the figures read 35 dogs per day/318 per week. But we’ve got a long way to go.

Cork City

  • An average of 11 dogs abandoned by their guardians every week in 2012; that’s 1 a day
  • An average of 1 dog killed a week, compared to 1 dog killed a day in 2005.

Cork County

  • An average of 11 dogs abandoned by their guardians every week in 2012; under 2 a day.
  • More than half the dogs taken in by the county were killed. That’s worth repeating – More Than Half! That’s an average of 1 dog killed a day or 8 a week and is more than 2012. But compare with 3 dogs per day/20 per week in 2005.

Thoughts

Note that these thoughts haven’t really changed since last year. I’m going to email CSPCA with some of this I think, and hopefully get some of my questions answered.

  • Neither Cork County nor City seem to do much seizing of dogs – are the ISPCA doing that job for them? Or are they not doing their jobs?
  • We need to focus on the numbers surrendered/dumped, not just the numbers killed.
    • It’s illegal to dump an animal – why are more people not being prosecuted for doing so? What’s to stop people without some form of penalty?
    • Rescues and pounds need to look at persuading people not to dump the animals they’ve adopted: address the problems they’re having with their companions, rather than taking animals in willy nilly; don’t adopt animals out to unsuitable homes (which will just get rid of them further down the line); homecheck (less returns), etc. This is a point in the stray animal chain that is seldom addressed, and can make a tremendous difference.
    • Note that no tracking is done on the rehoming success rate of pounds that I’m aware of. Many pounds don’t home check, nor follow up on their rehomed companions. How many end up in the pound again? Or in rescue? Or dead? How much do pounds perpetuate the situation with their rehoming policies?
  • The new statistic that appeared in 2012, itemising the dogs passed to rescues, is great to see. But should the pounds really not be doing that work themselves? Or is this the best we can hope for? Better they pass to rescue than kill, in my book.
  • The kill rates have dropped substantially since 2005 – definitely a step in the right direction. But still not nearly good enough. I’d imagine the drop is mostly fuelled by rescues and individuals encouraging the pounds, and the nation as a whole, to treat companion animals with humanity. I’d like to see this continue – a kill rate of 0% is not unreasonable to hope for in a country of this size.
  • I’m not sure what the pounds count as ‘natural causes’ – I’m assuming this includes animals euthanased because it’s considered kinder. If it’s simply animals that die without veterinary assistance … that shouldn’t be happening. Note to self: must find out what they mean by ‘natural causes’.
  • If you’re involved in animal welfare, develop a good relationship with your dog warden and/or pound, regardless of what you think of them. You could save lives – and that’s what matters!
  • How many pounds/wardens have, and use, microchip scanners? Hopefully they all will when the new legislation comes in.
  • Different breeds get different treatment in pounds. 100% of greys brought in to six pounds across Ireland were killed. What are the stats for other breeds?
  • These figures only cover the pounds and wardens in Ireland. They don’t give any understanding of the whole picture. Rescues take in dogs, cats, rabbits – you name it – every day. And the rescues’ statistics are not included in the figures I’m talking about here. Many more than 10 dogs die in Ireland every day. Many more than 24 are dumped by their human ‘guardians’ every day. I can only say –

Don’t breed or buy while animals die!

What You Can Do

Don’t encourage breeding. You’re only encouraging death.

  • Neuter your companion animals.
  • Adopt a rescue companion.
  • Support your local rescue organisation – donate, volunteer, advertise, foster, publicise.
  • Report animal cruelty and neglect. And report anyone seen dumping an animal!
  • Report stray animals to your dog wardengarda station or local rescue. Strays lead miserable lives – get them home!
  • Write to Environ and your local TD about their statistics. Highlight points that mean something to you – microchipping, homechecking, working with rescues – protest for change!

Related Links

Statistics Analyses

Posted in Legislation, Must Reads, Statistics.

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