A leading animal welfare group in Donegal has been recorded as putting down 85% of the dogs under their care.
The ISPCA defended its policies last night - after figures showed its dog pounds put down three in every five of the animals it rescued in the country.
Figures compiled by the Department of the Environment show pounds run by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals put down a higher percentage of dogs than pounds run by other charities. The trend was reported in the Sunday Times this week.
Donegal had one of the highest rates recorded with 85% of dogs being put down compared to just 2.3% in Leitrim and 23% in Sligo.
The astonishing figure of 85% of abandoned animals taken in by the ISPCA in Donegal which are put to sleep dispels the myth of “Man’s best friend” in the county.
Chief executive of the ISPCA, Noel Griffen said the figures did not tell the full story, pointing to the large number of dogs being exported to England in appalling conditions.
Griffen said, “The statistics for the number of dogs put down by the ISPCA was higher than others because it, unlike other groups, did not send dogs to Britain to be rehoused or put to sleep there.
“The exporting of dogs to the UK improves the statistics, but I would question where those dogs are going.
In all, 16,413 dogs were taken in across the Republic in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics have been compiled. Of these 6,506 were put down, while 9,921 were successfully re - housed with new families.
The statistics, according to the Sunday Times, showed that the 13 areas which enjoyed the most successful records in finding new homes for their dogs were all managed by agencies other than the ISPCA.