ABC Council area has the highest number of impounded dogs in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.
New statistics released from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) for the period of April to December 2022, show that in the ABC Council area there were 473 complaints received around stray dogs. Ten stray dogs were seized and returned to their owners.
A further 318 were impounded, which is the highest figure across Northern Ireland, followed by Belfast City Council at 219 dogs.
Newry, Mourne and Down came third in the list, with 195 dogs impounded.
The Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983, which makes provision for the licensing of dogs, requires councils to provide information relating to the operation of the Order. This information is provided by the councils on a quarterly basis and held by DAERA.
The statistics cover a wide-range of topics including dog licences and dog attacks.
Of the total of 2,030 stray dogs dealt with in Northern Ireland during this period, 1,620 were impounded.
Of the 318 impounded dogs in the ABC Council area, 122 were reclaimed by their owners, 27 were sold to the public, 147 were passed to shelters or other animal organisations and 19 were unspecified.
Three dogs were “humanely destroyed” during this period.
ABC Council did not respond to a request for comment.
Commenting on the issue of stray dogs, a spokesperson for Dog’s Trust said: “Welcoming a dog into the family is a big commitment and we would encourage anyone getting a dog to ensure they have done their research and are in a position to provide for their dog for its lifetime.
“However, we appreciate that circumstances can change at any time, and sometimes owners are forced to make the tough decision to give up their dog.”
They added: “If owners are struggling to look after their dog for whatever reason, we would urge them to get in touch with Dogs Trust as soon as possible.
“We are doing all we can to ensure as many dogs as possible can stay with their owners, including providing training and support, and we have launched pet food banks in some of our rehoming centres, including at Ballymena rehoming centre in Northern Ireland, to help those struggling to afford to feed their dog.”