Derry is being over-run by stray dogs new figures reveal, with almost 150 complaints lodged with the council within nine weeks.
Derry’s pet charity, the Rainbow Rehoming Centre, said last night that they too are being inundated with calls about stray and unwanted dogs.
During October and November past alone, Rainbow staff and volunteers received 40 calls about stray dogs reported found by local people and also took 51 calls from people looking to get rid of their pet dogs and asking for help to find them new homes.
New figures to be brought before the January meeting of Derry City Council’s Environmental Services Committee, reveal that over the same period there were 148 stray dog complaints, while there were 41 strays and 28 unwanted dogs impounded.
Carly Russell, Animal Care Assistant with Rainbow, said some people were just dumping their dogs.
“We are finding this time of year is worse for dogs straying. A lot of people are just getting rid of them.
“At the moment we have got 21 dogs in the centre, three neglects, seven strays, along with three strays from the pound and eight which were in the pound as unwanted pets.
“People just don’t understand the commitment with a dog.
“We had a call today from a young fellow trying to rehome his Doberman because he is having another baby.
“We have calls from people moving house, people who have no time for their dogs.”
And staff are bracing themselves for more pleas for help over the coming months.
“We would get a lot of calls around February, March time,” Ms Russell said. “After the Christmas period when pups have grown up a wee bit and maybe are making a mess, going to the toilet in the house.
“Many people do not realise the amount of work involved in rearing a puppy. You cannot just go out and leave it.”
The Dogs Trust is will work with Derry Dog Wardens to launch in the coming weeks a limited-time offer to help dog owners have their details updated on the microchip database for free.