MADRA says think responsibly before getting a dog as the number of stray dogs in city and county explodes

Galway-based dog rescue charity MADRA has asked that people think long and hard before introducing a dog to their home as the number of stray and surrender dogs continues to rise.

The charity currently has 108 dogs in their care, either at the rescue facility, in foster homes or at private boarding kennels paid for from the charity’s funds. There are also over 20 dogs waiting to be taken in by MADRA from local authority pounds, and a lengthy list of people looking to surrender their pet dogs.

“On average, we are receiving three calls or emails per day from people looking to surrender their dog. There are a variety of reasons including emigration, health issues, or problems finding rented accommodation that will allow pets.

“Other people simply did not think things through properly before making an impulsive decision to buy a puppy, later realising that their lifestyle does not allow for the responsibility.

“And then there are people who end up with unwanted litters of pups who got “caught out” because they did not neuter their pet”, said MADRA PRO, Eileen Keleghan.

“We want people to do their research before getting a dog and to decide if they are prepared for a commitment of up to fifteen years depending on the breed. If they do get a dog, we ask that they neuter, micro-chip, tag and vaccinate their dog to ensure that their pet does not end up in a pound or contribute to the number of stray dogs in our community. We have also had six micro-chipped dogs come into us this month but their chips were registered incorrectly, so it is important that people check with their vet to make sure that their dog’s details are correctly recorded.

“For those who have thought long and hard about getting a dog then we hope that they will consider one of the beautiful rescue dogs that we have in our care. We can talk people through the different breeds and find them the dog that will best suit their lifestyle” she added.

So far this year the charity has taken in 134 dogs with 68 coming in this month alone, and this figure will rise further when the remainder of the pound collections take place this week.

“January and February are generally slow months for rehoming. Even with the success of our puppy adoption day last month a lot of the adult dogs have been waiting quite a while to find a home. One of our long stay residents went to his home this week after over seven weeks at the kennels. Another dog came to us from the pound and had a litter of pups in a foster home.

Sixty-five per cent of the dogs that MADRA has taken in this year are dogs that ended up in a pound because they were found straying with no micro-chip or ID tag or they were surrendered by their owners. The remainder of the dogs were on a waiting list to be surrendered directly to the charity by their owner.

“It can be very difficult to refuse people who have to surrender their dogs for genuine reasons, but I am afraid at the moment the wait is several weeks for people who have no other option but to surrender their dog to a rescue facility” added Ms Keleghan.

The charity works with the local authorities in Galway city and county, and Co. Mayo, to help reduce the euthanasia rate for stray and unwanted dogs. In Co. Galway the put-to-sleep rate is as low as eight per cent from a figure of 83 per cent ten years ago, and it is expected that the Galway City rate will be reduced significantly this year as a result of the formal working relationship agreed between both parties late last year.

The annual running costs at MADRA are in excess of €200,000, with 8,000 euro being provided by the Department of agriculture. In order to continue their work, the charity relies on adoption donations, fundraising events, donations and grants from organisations and individuals, and the revenue from the charity shops in Moycullen and Westside.

To adopt, foster or donate to MADRA go to www.madra.ie

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