Number of stray and abandoned dogs rises
The number of stray dogs in Northern Ireland has grown to almost 6,000, according to new figures.
The 2014 annual Stray Dogs Survey showed that 5,886 stray and abandoned dogs were handled by councils in Northern Ireland between April 2013 and March 2014.
That represents a 2% increase from the 5,774 dogs handled during the previous year.
The survey by Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, also revealed that close to a third of dog owners in Northern Ireland (31%) lose their dog at least once during the animal's lifetime.
However, 73% were unaware that they only have five days to recover a missing dog before it is rehomed or potentially put to sleep.
An estimated 690 strays were put to sleep in Northern Ireland last year by councils.
Across the UK, however, the numbers of stray and abandoned dogs have decreased, with the total number of stray dogs in the UK falling by 1% from 111,986 to 110,675. Dogs Trust said this could be down to the increased micro-chipping of pets.