A Rottweiler dog, which was found in Coleraine severely neglected and starved half to death, was humanely put to sleep last week.
The shocking case has prompted Coleraine Borough Council to renew its appeal to the public not to abandon unwanted dogs. Council was alerted after the dog was taken to a local veterinary clinic by a man who claimed it had been found on the Newbridge Road in the town.
Kieran Doherty, Council’s Corporate Director of Environmental Services, told the Times that the bitch was “so badly starved and less than half her recommended breed weight. At the advice of the veterinary clinic, which has been most regrettable, she has now been put to sleep.”
“This is a distressful situation for all involved, and one which should not have taken place. There have been a number of dogs abandoned in the area since Christmas and I wish to highlight that that this is against current legislation and court action could also be taken if neglect is found to have occurred.
“This dog was in such poor health. It was malnourished with its rib cage, hip bones and scull protruding, a most shocking sight and I hope I never have to witness anything like this again”.
An adult Rottweiler should weigh between 40 and 50 kilos but the emaciated animal weighed around 19 kilos.
Council does not usually deal directly with ill treated animals as police have enforcement powers for animal welfare. However, within the last two months, the local authority has collected two strays which were malnourished and requiring immediate attention to their health.
Mr Doherty continued: “Council follow a number of routes when a dog is collected stray or unwanted.
“A large number of dogs are owner traced and returned to their families, especially if they are micro-chipped which is always recommended. The dog wardens also work with a number of charities to re-home dogs and are proactive in ensuring that partnerships are developed to save as many dogs as possible.
“Coleraine Borough Council appeals to all dog owners who may be experiencing difficult circumstances, not to abandon their dogs or to allow the dogs to fend for themselves.
“We provide a service to take in and re-home unwanted dogs where a dog is in good health. I also appeal to anyone who is concerned about a dog’s welfare to report the matter to Council.”
On behalf of Coleraine Borough Council a re-homing service is provided at Margaret Grahams Kennels in Articlave. There are also a number of animal welfare charities throughout Northern Ireland which will take in unwanted dogs and have them re-homed.