Ireland is full of lush green hills, fantastic beer and… stray dogs. In fact, in the 1990s, the stray dog problem in Ireland reached epidemic proportions. Roughly 30,000 dogs across the country were being euthanized per year. To contextualize the problem: The UK has twenty times the population of Ireland, but is only putting down one-third that number of dogs each year.
Veterinarians and other Irish animal welfare advocates decided enough was enough. The homeless dog epidemic is unacceptable. These experts gathered together at the “National Stray Dog Forum,” and formed an actionable plan to address the issue. Ireland took these steps and the country has seen tremendous success. In 2014, only 3,000 dogs were pet down. That’s an incredible 90% decrease in 20 years.
How did Ireland accomplish these numbers?
Microchipping is Found Animals’ specialty. We offer affordable microchips to the public and also cater to other shelters and rescues. Many lost pets, separated from their families, wiggle out of their collar and ID tags. But microchips? Those are virtually impossible to lose.
In fact since, microchipping and microchip registration has been mandatory in Ireland since April 2016. And registering a microchip is just as important as the microchip implantation. Unless a microchip is registered with up-to-date contact information for a pet’s owner, it’s impossible to reconnect animals with their families.
Educating the public doesn’t cost much and it sure as heck sees amazing results. Ireland now has an annual spay and neuter awareness week. And obviously by decreasing the number of unwanted puppy litters, the country has seen a decrease in dog euthanasia. Ireland also increased access to affordable spay and neuter services – this helps remove financial barriers in the effort to control the stray dog population.
Recently, California passed SB 673, a piece of legislation that targets unethical pet breeding. Ireland has also made an effort to curb the practice of unethical dog breeding on a mass scale.
Irish animal welfare experts feel that the situation is far from perfect. They believe legislation still needs improvements and obviously, they would like to reduce the number of unnecessary dog deaths to zero. However, vets and other dog advocates remain ecstatic about the decline in euthanasia since the 1990s – and optimistic about what the future holds for our canine friends.
What does this all mean? Ireland’s success is a good reminder to microchip your pets and update their registry profiles. The profile should include your current contact info so your best friend can find their way back to you should you get separated. Also remember to licence your pet and outfit them with a collar and ID tag!