MLA supports campaign to reduce number of stray dogs

Pledging her support for the “It’s Nicer to Neuter Campaign” run by charity Dogs Trust is East Belfast Alliance MLA, Cllr Naomi Long, pictured at Stormont with Ronnie Milsop, Dogs Trust NI Campaigns Manager and Caymen a neutered Doberman.

The It’s Nicer to Neuter campaign aims to improve the huge stray dog problem in NI and highlight neutering as the most effective long term solution. NI destroys over 4,000 dogs each year – more than any other region of the UK.

Anyone in Housing Executive accommodation or receiving means-tested benefits is eligible to have their dog neutered for just £10 thanks to a subsidy from Dogs Trust and the generous support of the veterinary profession. (Neutering can normally cost up to £120, depending on the dog).

Supporting the campaign Cllr Long said: “Every year hundreds of strays are picked up on the streets and many unwanted dogs are destroyed. In the last 11 months, there were 731 seizures of stray dogs in Belfast, and a total of 978 cases of stray and unwanted dogs. In the same period, 200 dogs were destroyed. These are shocking statistics. We need to promote responsible dog ownership, primarily for the welfare of the animals concerned, but also to deal with the nuisance factor of strays.

“One of the major complaints we receive as Councillors relates to dog fouling and it and strays contribute significantly to the problem. Belfast City Council, for example, is investing £5000 in this particular scheme to help dog owners to do the responsible thing.

“I have recently had my own dog spayed. Not only does it prevent litters of unwanted puppies, but can also lead to a longer and healthier life for your pet – something which we all want.”

Ronnie Milsop, Dogs Trust NI Campaigns Manager, comments: “I really do urge people to take up our £10 neutering offer for their dogs. Neutering your much loved dog will help reduce the number of stray and abandoned dogs on the streets and create a more dog friendly community for everyone. There are huge health benefits too.”

Assembly member Kieran McCarthy said: “One of the preventable problems faced by many towns is that of stray dogs. Sadly, if owners don’t get their pets neutered, they can end up with more pups than they can handle.

“That’s not fair on the dog, the pups or those who have to find homes for the pups. We need to promote responsible dog ownership, and I am happy to lend my support to the Dogs Trust’s efforts to raise awareness about neutering.”

Assembly member Eileen Bell said: “It is encouraging that the Dogs Trust has raised the issue of neutering. This can prevent litters of unwanted pups, and given the number of stray dogs on our streets, it is a welcome move.

“I would encourage all pet owners to be responsible, and neutering will prevent heartache for many owners and their pets.”

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