MPs discuss keeping dogs in Northern Ireland during visit to repatriation center

South Antrim rep John Blair, along with Patrick Brown (South Down) and David Honeyford (Lagan Valley), toured the kennels and met current residents, including Border Collie and Shih Tzus puppies Blossom and Buddy, who will soon be leaving the center together and moving into their forever home.

During the tour, MPs saw the building work currently underway at the center which, when completed, will allow Dogs Trust to care for and re-home more dogs.

They also discussed issues affecting dogs in the country, including the cost of living crisis, which has led to a sharp rise in the number of rehousing requests the charity is receiving, and breeding establishments large scale operating in Northern Ireland.

John Blair MLA and Patrick Brown MLA are pictured with four collie puppies

Patrick Brown, Alliance Party Animal Welfare Representative, said: ‘I was delighted to visit Dogs Trust and see first hand the brilliant work they do to support dogs and their owners.

“With rising costs and the growing number of people and animals in need of help, the charity’s work to improve the welfare of dogs is extremely important.

“A key priority for the Alliance party is to introduce legislation to address issues around puppy breeding, dog breeding and wider animal welfare issues and I look forward to working with Dogs Trust to support this work.

Conor O’Kane, Director of Ballymena Rehoming Centre, added: “It was a pleasure to welcome John, Patrick and David to our center and discuss wider dog welfare issues in Northern Ireland.

David Honeyford MLA is pictured with Blossom and Buddy

“The dogs enjoyed meeting them and we are very grateful to have their support.”