SOUTH Dublin County Council has said that there will be no change in its animal welfare policy after signing a contract with a new dog pound.
Concerns were raised by Fianna Fail councillor Trevor Gilligan, who said that Ashton Pound, which is taking over the contract, put a larger number of dogs to sleep than the previous pound in Dunboyne.
He said: “I am very upset that it has come to this, after working extremely successfully with one of the largest pounds in the country for more than seven years, and building a very good relationship with both pound staff and the dog wardens.
“[Dog charity] A Dog’s Life has been placing approximately 70% of the [council] dogs annually with rescues, including themselves, but also [note] that many more are re-homed directly from the pound.
“I feel that this decision has been made with little regard to the welfare of the dogs but merely to save money.
“While conditions have improved at Ashton in recent years, can this pound deal with an extra influx of 1,165 dogs per year – either collected by the dog warden, or surrendered by owners in South Dublin [according to the statistics] in 2012 – or will these dogs be put to sleep?”
Ashton put 22% of dogs from the other three Dublin authorities to sleep in 2012, while Dunboyne put 5% down in the same timeframe.
A council spokesperson said that the tender process was rigorous and said that inspections will be thorough and regular.
“Following assessment of the tender submissions, which included inspections by veterinary inspectors to confirm the adequacy of the facilities from a welfare perspective, [the council was] satisfied that Ashton Dog Pound was best-placed to provide the service and the contract has been awarded accordingly.
“The contract will come into effect from August 1. In order to ensure that the best service is being delivered, there will be regular inspections and monitoring of the facility by veterinary staff and ongoing review meetings with the contractor.
“It is important to note that South Dublin County Council’s policy with regard to re-homing and animal welfare will not change.”
Ashton Pound had not responded to a request for comment by the time of going to press.