THE number of stray dogs picked up by local authorities in the west country has decreased by 46 per cent, according to Dogs Trust.
The charity, which has a centre in Ilfracombe, say the number of dogs decreased from 5,181 in 2011 to 2,798 in 2012.
Claire Joselin, Dogs Trust Ilfracombe Supporter Relations Officer, said: “This year’s stray dog survey shows good news for the West Country.
“We work very closely with the local authorities who should be commended on their efforts to encourage responsible dog ownership through neutering, microchipping and education in a very difficult economic climate.
“However, local authorities are still struggling to cope with the number of strays and are therefore forced to put some dogs to sleep. Any dog destroyed for want of a home is one dog too many.
“We hope to continue our work with local authorities through our extensive campaigns to help them to tackle the issue of stray dogs and ensure that the number continues to decline.”
North Devon Council said the number of stray dogs reported to them in 2011 was 75, compared to 69 in 2012 and 51 in 2013, up until August 15.
Three dogs were euthanised in 2011, compared with one in 2012 and none so far this year.
The council’s community protection manager, Amanda Palmer, about stray dogs:
“Over the last three years, the number of stray dog cases reported to the council has dropped slightly, which is welcome news.
“Our aim is to respond to incidents as quickly as possible, so that our early involvement increases the chances of quickly reuniting the dogs with their owners.
“When reunited, we also use the opportunity to highlight to the owner what can be done to prevent the dog from straying again.
“We also have a good working relationship with the Dogs Trust in Ilfracombe, valuing their advice, guidance and support. We hope our shared work in the ongoing education of dog owners will contribute to a further drop in the number of strays.”