Calls for dog welfare legislation as 28 requests received in one day from owners surrendering their dogs

Jennifer Whitmore and Daisy the dog

Deputy Jennifer Whitmore, Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, highlighted the pressures on dog rescues in County Wicklow in the Dail this evening and called upon the government to act swiftly in delivering promised dog welfare legislation. Deputy Whitmore was speaking on a dog welfare motion where she took the opportunity to highlight the alarming increase in the number of dogs being surrendered in the county and emphasised the urgent need for comprehensive legislative measures to protect these vulnerable animals and prevent the overbreeding of puppies through unregulated breeders.

Whitmore said “The escalating number of dog surrenders in Wicklow has reached a crisis point, placing an overwhelming burden on local dog rescues. These organisations, which work tirelessly to provide shelter, care, and rehoming services, are stretched to their limits as they struggle to cope with the surge in surrendered dogs. Many factors contribute to this alarming trend, including changing family circumstances, financial strains, and behavioural challenges. The recent lifting of the eviction ban has also seen an increase in dogs being surrendered as many rentals do not accept pets, meaning many much-loved animals are being surrendered.

This has resulted in rescues in the county being full to capacity, with one rescue saying that they received 28 calls yesterday alone from owners wishing to surrender their dogs.

Deputy Whitmore underscored the urgency of the situation and called on the government to fulfil its commitment to introducing comprehensive dog welfare legislation to deal with the issue of puppy farming and overbreeding in particular.

“The large number of dogs being surrendered in Wicklow is deeply concerning, and those working in the rescues are at breaking point. They care deeply for these animals but are unable to cope with the tsunami of surrenders. It is imperative that the government delivers on its promise to bring forward dog welfare legislation through the Dáil, providing a robust framework to safeguard the rights and well-being of these animals.”

Deputy Whitmore believes that comprehensive legislation is crucial for regulating dog breeding practices, setting welfare standards, and promoting responsible ownership. By enacting such legislation, the government can help prevent the abandonment and mistreatment of dogs, ensuring they are treated with the care, compassion, and respect they deserve.

Deputy Whitmore also asked that those wishing to take in a family pet look in first instance to local rescues as there are so many lovely animals waiting for their forever home. Having just rehomed a dog herself from Wicklow Animal Welfare in Rathdrum, she believes that oftentimes rescues are overlooked as families don’t believe that they could get a suitable dog through a rescue. However, Deputy Whitmore said “Wicklow has many fantastic rescues with dogs of every breed, shape and size ready for a new home. I have just rehomed my third dog from a rescue and I can safely say that the love you get from a dog that was rescued cannot be matched. They innately know that they are lucky to find their new family and repay that a thousand-fold. So, if you are looking, please consider checking out some local rescue pages. I think you’ll be surprised how quickly you see the dog that is perfect for your family.”

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