Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has responded to claims that a stray dog was euthanised too promptly before a suitable home was found for it.
Catherine Ward contacted the Newtownabbey Times to reveal her upset at the outcome.
The Carnmoney resident said she left the dog, which was discovered in a very bad condition on Wednesday night at the Valley Park, overnight with an emergency vet.
Catherine said: “I told the vet that I volunteer at Dog’s Trust and if no one could take the dog, I would bring him there. My best friend’s mum agreed to keep him and give him a forever home.”
However, she said when she phoned the next day she was advised the dog warden had the dog.
Catherine, who is studying a Diploma in Animal Care and Management at Belfast Met continued: “When I called Mossley Mill, they told me they would forward my information onto the dog warden as they told me they were not at the pound yet. Around 5pm I got a call from a dog warden, who told me that the dog, as he put it got ‘humanely executed’.”
Adding she would have been willing to pay any bills, she claimed “this dog was more than capable to recover and could’ve had an amazing life”.
In response, a council spokesperson said: “On Thursday, May 17 an Enforcement Officer from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council received a call from a local vet, advising that a stray lurcher type dog had been left to their practice on the previous evening. The dog, which was approximately two-three years old had been brought in by a member of the public who had found it straying in the Valley Park area.
“Enforcement officers assessed the condition of the dog and it was immediately evident that it was in extremely poor health, emaciated and suffering from severe canine scabies (mange). Canine scabies is highly contagious to both humans and other animals which presented difficulties in keeping the dog either in the vets, or at the council’s dog kennels.
“While canine scabies as a condition is treatable, this particular case was extreme, and appeared to have been ongoing for some time, with lacerations and a number of open wounds covering the dog’s body. Furthermore, the dog’s claws were extremely overgrown, which had caused further skin damage due to the excessive scratching that mange causes.”
The spokesperson added: “When a stray dog is handed in to or picked up by the council, Enforcement officers will scan the dog to check for microchip details in an attempt to reunite the dog with its owner. Where a dog is not microchipped it will be brought to the council’s kennelling facilities, where it is kept for a minimum period to allow an owner to come forward. Once the minimum period has passed, the council will always try to ensure that a dog is either re homed directly from the kennels, or passed to an animal charity to find a suitable new home.
“The council would assure members of the public that welfare of animals is paramount, and our Enforcement officers will never consider putting a dog to sleep unless in circumstances where its health and welfare is so severely compromised.
“Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council were unfortunately not aware that someone had been in touch with the vets and was willing to re-home the dog.
“Enforcement Officers were faced with a difficult situation, however made the judgement that having the dog put to sleep was the best decision, given the complex nature of its health and welfare concerns and the fact that it was in pain, and severely stressed due to the number of open wounds on its body.”