A Derry Councillor has called for greater awareness to ensure people know about the signs of animal cruelty.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack made the call while speaking of her upset at the recent case of the neglected and starved Husky dogs in Eglinton.
Colr. Cusack said: “Like most dog lovers I was appalled to hear the details of this case and the fate of these two beautiful animals.
“With dog ownership in the Council district appearing to be on the rise I believe we, as a Council and as individual communities, could be doing more to not only to educate people on the responsibilities of owning a pet, but to monitor domestic animals in our neighbourhoods.”
Colr. Cusack said there should be “no excuse or reason for any animal to suffer,” when there are services and people there to help.
“It is understandable that sometimes elderly or vulnerable individuals are either unconsciously neglectful or unaware that they are causing suffering to their closest companion due to mental or physical issues.
“This is where we need our communities to be alert and report any concerns they may have about an animals welfare so these individuals can get the help they need. Where someone witnesses or suspects direct and deliberate cruelty this should be reported immediately.”
Colr. Cusack appealed to anyone finding it difficult to cope with a pet to get in touch with the Council to discuss their options.
She also said people could benefit from considering the commitment involved in taking on a pet before they do so.
She said: “Sadly, at this time every year numerous dogs are either abandoned or placed in rehoming shelters as unwanted Christmas gifts once the reality of the responsibility kicks in.
“While a shelter is a better option than having a pet suffer, a clearer pre-understanding of what dog ownership entails would potentially prevent having to go down this route in the first place.
“While dogs are irresistible, it is worth considering whether you, or the recipient of the animal can afford all the financial associated costs, the money to feed, house, license and vet fees.
“Time commitments and physical considerations such as daily walks, play and general interaction are also huge part of an animals mental wellbeing.
“All these factors should be seriously considered by any potential pet owner, I would encourage anyone with any queries or concerns to get in touch with Environmental Health in Council or any alternative animal welfare organisation who will be more than happy to assist.”