A dog welfare charity has welcomed an 11.5% reduction in the number of dogs entering the pound system in Ireland.

Statistics released by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government show that nearly 15,500 dogs entered Irish pounds last year.

The figures also reveal a 21% reduction in the number of dogs being put down in pounds last year compared to 2012.

Ten dogs a day and over 3,500 dogs a year are still being put down in Irish pounds.  

The number of greyhounds put down in pounds remains high at 427 in 2013, compared to 404 in 2012.

Dogs Trust Executive Director Mark Beazley said: "When a dog is picked up by a dog warden and enters the pound system as a stray, the pound has a legal obligation to keep the dog for five days in case the owner comes forward looking for their pet.

"However, when a dog is handed over by its owner, the pound has no legal obligation to keep it for any length of time and the dog could be put to sleep the same day.

"The majority of these dogs are healthy animals surrendered by owners who cannot or, in some cases, will not care for their pet any more."