‘I think it’s unfair for a dog to be kept in a kennel for 23 hours a day’

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A COUNCILLOR who carried out a site visit at Ashton Dog Pound last November said conditions there were “not satisfactory”, and she hopes a new contractor will be appointed when the tender process closes next month.

Ashton operates dog warden services under contract for South Dublin County Council, Dublin City Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Fingal County Council.

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Ashton Dog Pound

 Ashton Dog Pound is currently being investigated by gardai in relation to an animal welfare incident, and there are claims that dogs in the pound were incorrectly euthanised last July and endured slow and painful deaths as a result.

South Dublin County Council’s contract with the pound ended on December 31, however, the contract has been temporarily extended by the council until they can find a new tender for the service.

The tender process for the provision of a dog pound facility and related services for the South Dublin County Council administrative area began earlier this month, and responses are being accepted up to February 3.

The dog pound has been the subject of numerous protests and social media posts, and this led Fianna Fáil councillor Teresa Costello and Mayor Ed O’Brien to carry out a pre-arranged site visit last November.

Cllr Costello told The Echo: “I wanted to see Ashton Dog Pound for myself, before I made a judgement on it.

“Was the dog pound satisfactory? I don’t think so.

“The dogs spend 23 hours a day in kennels, they get four 15-minute walks a day, which isn’t satisfactory.

“I think it’s unfair for a dog to be kept in a kennel for 23 hours a day, no matter how short their stay is – it’s not right.

“The maintenance of the area where the dogs are walked wasn’t satisfactory. It could’ve been a bit more dog-friendly, but instead it looked like a wasteland.

“I found staff to be very accommodating when answering my questions and I found the kennel hand I walked with to have a genuinely good relationship with the dogs he handled.”

Cllr Costello added: “But we need to touch on some of the social issues that led to dogs going to the pound.

“If people were being more responsible with their dogs, or not being cruel, then there wouldn’t be a need for Ashton Dog Pound.”

Concerns about Ashton Dog Pound have been raised at council meetings by councillors across all parties, including Cllr Costello, Cllr Alan Edge (Ind), Cllr Liam Sinclair (GP) and Cllr Carly Bailey (SD).

Most recently, Cllr Bailey submitted a question at last week’s monthly council meeting, asking if the council had considered a proposal she made several months ago.

Cllr Bailey proposed that all four Dublin local authorities should come together and request funding from central government to put in place a public no-kill dog pound which would serve Dublin.

In response, the local authority stated: “The tender for the dog pound services for the the council administrative area was issued on January 4, 2021, with a closing date of February 3.

“The outcome will be determined after the tender process has been completed.

“There are no joint proposals from the four Dublin Local Authorities to provide a directly-run dog pound and there is no provision in the three-year council Capital Budget, approved at the December 2020 meeting, for the provision of same.”

Looking ahead, Cllr Costello said: “The ideal scenario would be to have a dog pound based on the southside with more acceptable facilities for the dogs.

“It’s all well and good to complain about Ashton Dog Pound, but there have to be alternatives.”

Ashton Dog Pound was contacted for comment, but a response was not received in time for print.

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