Figures released today show a 20 per cent decrease in stray, surrendered and unwanted dogs in 2021, however Dogs Trust said they have received 1,732 surrender requests for unwanted dogs this year already.
Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity said it "cautiously" welcomed the decrease in dogs entering Irish pounds.
The charity recognises that although the latest figures from 2021 show a positive decrease in unwanted, euthanised and stray dogs in Irish pounds, that the current crisis rescue centres now face in 2022 is far worse.
Dogs Trust expressed fears that a wave of "post-pandemic lockdown puppies" is only being felt in recent months.
The latest Irish Dog Pound Statistics, released by the Department of Rural and Community Development, show a 2.3 per cent decrease in dogs being euthanised, with a further decrease of 20.9 per cent in the number of stray, and unwanted dogs entering Irish pounds, in 2021 in comparison to 2020.
However, Dogs Trust fear that the volume of unwanted dogs is growing at a worrying rate this year as rescue centres across Ireland are full to capacity.
Dogs Trust revealed that they are facing an unprecedented spike in requests to take unwanted dogs into their care, with the charity receiving an average of eight requests every single day, since January this year.
This is an "alarming" 40.9 per cent increase on the same period in 2021. The Irish rescue and pound system are only starting to feel the pressure of post-pandemic ‘lockdown puppies’ and the charity fears these figures could keep growing.
Commenting on the report, Becky Bristow, executive director at Dogs Trust Ireland said: “We must account for the fact that these figures are only recorded as far as December 2021, and not a true reflection on what we are experiencing at this present moment. 2021 was still an unusual year, with the country facing months of Covid restrictions, as well as a strong focus on working from home. Unfortunately, from our experience, the wave of unwanted dogs is far higher at present and is continuing to climb in 2022 as people return to their normal lifestyle.
"We are facing one of the most difficult years for rescue and rehoming centres alike. Every day we are inundated with requests to take unwanted dogs and our resources are stretched to capacity.”
With an overwhelming volume of dogs being surrendered and abandoned each day, Dogs Trust has focused their efforts on their fostering programme to help address the issue of unwanted dogs.
They are currently looking for foster families all across Ireland who can help by welcoming a dog into their home temporarily, while the charity search for a forever home for that dog.
"Fostering not only helps ease the pressure for re-homing centres by reducing the number of dogs they are providing daily care for, but it also helps free up kennel space, so Dogs Trust can continue to rescue Ireland’s most vulnerable dogs and provide the rehabilitation and second chance they deserve."
For anyone who is interested in fostering, visit www.DogsTrust.ie/fostering for more information.