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'National crisis in animal welfare': post-pandemic surge in cruelty cases says ISPCA

The charity needs to raise €500,000 from members of the public so that no animal will be turned away from the care it needs.

THE ISPCA HAS launched an emergency fundraising appeal as a sharp increase in the number of animal cruelty cases across the nation leaves the charity’s finances under pressure.

The National Emergency Appeal ’Stop The Pain’ comes as the ISPCA’s four centres have reached maximum capacity after the number of animals being placed in its care soared by 80% in the first few months of this year.

The ISPCA’s CEO, Dr Cyril Sullivan, told The Journal that the charity needs to raise €500,000 from members of the public so that no animal will be turned away from the care it needs.

“During the pandemic a lot of breeders, both legal and illegal, set themselves up because there was so much demand for dogs, people were at home with their families,” he said.

“However, when everybody went back to work the breeders were left in a situation where the high demand disappeared overnight. So they were left with large numbers of animals.”

“On top of that, because people were going back to work it meant that people weren’t taking animals in from the ISPCA anymore for rehoming,” Sullivan explained.

Due to the fact that the charity’s centres in Donegal, Longford, Cork and Wicklow are full, the ISPCA has had to pay private kennels or temporary facilities to house their additional animals, which has increased operating costs substantially.

It’s been estimated that €500,000 will be needed to cover these extra costs for the year.

“We haven’t had to do this before in terms of a national appeal but it is a national crisis in animal welfare in Ireland and we really do need that support to get to save these animals and take them from danger,” Sullivan said.

“We have collected as many animals in the first half of this year as we did in all of 2022.”

“If we get a phone call or an inspector finds an animal abused, we’re not going to leave that animal behind, but our centres are full. Private kennels are a very significant cost.

“We have to ramp up our veterinary services too because so many animals coming in have been abused and need treatment.”

Sullivan added that two weeks ago an inspector on a routine call-out had found almost 120 dogs locked in a shed with “no light, no exercise, no food”.

“It was just a horrendous situation for us to find, but we managed to give them safety in our shelters. That’s an example of the difficulties we’re facing.”

“We also had a family walking in a forest who heard rustling and found a spaniel pup tied with twine to a tree. That dog was left to die, he was abandoned there without food or water and we’ve manged to rehome it successfully.”

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Money raised as part of the campaign will allow the charity to continue paying for temporary kennelling for abused and abandoned animals.

“We’re going to ramp up the vet services and hopefully if the donations are generous enough we will be building kennels over the summer in our own centers, ramping up the capacity so we can take these animals out of private kennels and into our own,” Sullivan continued.

“We’re also hoping to get more people willing to take an animal into their home. Not alone is this good for the dog, but it’s also excellent for the family in terms of mental and physiological health.”

“If people have any doubts they can foster a dog for a few weeks instead of adopting up front.”

“We need to be able to raise half a million euro this year to get through 2023 and hopefully get back on track. We’re looking for that help from the public and from animal lovers across Ireland to help us save these animals,” Sullivan added.

Members of the public can donate to the ISPCA here.

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