DUNGANNON Council has destroyed a total of 56 out-of-control dogs in the past year, one of the highest totals in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.
The destruction orders were issued following dog attacks on people or animals, and to tackle the large number of stray dogs in the district.
Only Newry, Down and Derry districts destroyed more dangerous dogs in the same period, according to the figures which were released at the Northern Ireland Assembly by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Last year, out-of-control dogs prompted a total of 1030 complaints to Dungannon Council’s dog wardens.
The scale of problems caused by dogs, which includes 45 attacks on people, and 62 complaints of dog-fouling has prompted dog wardens in the district to crack down on irresponsible owners and their pets.
A total of 500 stray dogs have been collected in the past year, which works out at almost ten a week, and a programme of evening and early morning patrols have been introduced.
Alarmingly, the amount of stray dogs collected in the past year is more than double the number collected in 2006.
By comparison, 144 strays were collected last year by Cookstown council, about a quarter of the Dungannon total.
Brian Mills, Head Dog Warden in the town, has advised pet-owners that the council will take court action if necessary.
Commenting on last year’s figures, he said: “Any dog attack which occurs in any area is one too many and Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough takes these incidents very seriously and will, where evidence is available take the matter before the courts”, he said.
“The results of dog attacks are often vicious resulting in terrible injuries. Although it is recognised that the vast majority of dogs are well looked after and are friendly family pets all dogs have the potential to inflict injury.
“Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council therefore ask that dog owners continue to act responsibly and ensure their dog is under control at all times.”