Call for change in animal welfare laws


THE DIRECTOR of a charity for dogs has called for changes to animal welfare laws so that greater penalties are imposed on people who neglect and abuse dogs.

Margaret Twohig of Cork Dog Action Welfare Group said that since January the charity has seen a noticeable rise in the number of dogs being handed in to re-home, and that an increasing number of them had been neglected.

She said some people were handing in their dogs because of emigration and others because they could not afford to look after them.

“You also have people that use the economic situation as an excuse to get rid of the dog,” said the charity spokeswoman.

Ms Twohig said there had been a 30 per cent increase in the number of dogs taken in by the charity in 2011 compared with 2010, and that those numbers looked set to rise again in 2012.

“We are seeing a lot of difficult cases. A greyhound called Bobbi came into our care at the end of last month and the dog was completely emaciated. It was gone past veterinary treatment, and it died within a couple of days. It was total neglect.” said Ms Twohig.

“The laws are ineffective, outdated and weak. At the moment all you need to do under the law is to provide the dog with shelter, water and food.”

She said that large numbers of dogs were also being abandoned. “People are also coming into the vets and asking for the dog to be put down because they don’t want it anymore.”

Ms Twohig made the call for tougher penalties a week after the carcasses of a number of greyhounds were found dumped in a disused quarry at Ballyagran, west Limerick.

The charity director appealed to people considering getting a dog to look at the responsibility involved before making the decision.