At the County Council meeting earlier this month, I called for the publication of statistics for the dog and horse welfare management in Clare over the last 5 years and updates on the recent tendering process and expected outcomes for animal welfare from the new contract awarded. The response produced by the Clare County Council reports a high standard of care and a promising shift in statistics for control of dogs and horses.
I got involved in advocating for the welfare of venerable animals in Clare during 2014 and I have noticed that there has been a dramatic improvement in the management of stray and abandoned animals each year since . The number of dogs put to sleep in Clare has dropped from 378 in 2014 to just 14 dogs so far this year. Also, the number of horses put to sleep in Clare has dropped 86% and euthanasia is only used for humane reasons when the animal is suffering.
Under the two new separate contracts awarded for provision of services for control of dogs, including the management of the Clare Dog Shelter, and the control of seized horses in Clare, the animal’s health and well-being are looked after. All dogs are assessed by a vet, vaccinated and microchipped before they are rehomed or transferred to reputable animal charities or rescues in Ireland.
With the new contract for horse welfare management, Horse Outside Ltd will care for the horse at a pound facility until they are reclaimed or rehomed. This new contract not only improves the well-being of the animals, there is a savings of €13,000 per year by reducing the number of euthanised horses.
Also noted in the report from the Clare County Council is that the revised procedures for rehoming will only continue to be effective in keeping the put to sleep rates down if the seized and surrendered numbers continue to decrease. The total number of dogs going through the Clare Dog Shelter fell from 1,000 in 2014 to 353 this year so far. The Clare County Council continues to invest in the dog shelter to provide sufficient care for these dogs. Work commenced in October of this year for improvements to flooring, windows, heating, beds and exercise runs.
Advocating for the care of stray or abandoned animals has been a focus of mine for the last 5 years, but raising wider public awareness is another essential part of ensuring good quality welfare for vulnerable animals. There is great work being done for animal rights by individuals and voluntary groups across Clare. As we approach the Christmas season, I want to remind people that pets are a long-term commitment that will pay you back in spades.