Plea for tough regulation amid explosion in incidents of animal cruelty

The call has been made by animal-welfare charities after an alarming surge in complaints over cruelty to animals over the past two years.

In Kerry, a pony had to be rescued from an upstairs building, while in Tipperary 27 dogs were found in appalling conditions, suffering much from parasitic diseases, while variously chained to a tree, or locked in metal cages.

The Cork-based Donkey Sanctuary expressed shock at the abandonment of 20 donkeys in Galway.

Five of the donkeys either died or had to be euthanized to ease their suffering.

Four pregnant mares and three foals arrived at the sanctuary’s facilities in March after the complex rescue operation. Eight others have been rehomed after receiving vital medical attention.

In another case, a dog in Kerry required specialist veterinary care after its drunk owner attacked the frightened pet with a broken bottle.

In Dublin, a Japanese Spitz was discovered so neglected that it was virtually being eaten alive by maggots.

Animal-welfare charities and activists now want Ireland to adopt the Swedish approach to pet ownership – and in particular to dog breeding. They have called for tighter regulation.

Incredibly, while Irish animal shelters are struggling to cope with the explosion in the number of abandoned animals, countries like Sweden have no animal rescues.

Dogs Trust Ireland confirmed it had taken in 1,357 unwanted dogs since January 1, amid an explosion in the number of surrendered pets.

ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said they had 20 successful court outcomes in respect of animal-cruelty cases in 2022.

But the seizures of large numbers of animals – mostly dogs – have put enormous strain on ISPCA resources, and it has had to rely on private kennels for additional capacity.

Donkey Sanctuary Ireland director Laura Foster said that prevention and strong legal deterrents are the only sustainable solution for all agencies involved in animal welfare.

“We will be increasing our education and support activities to reach as many donkeys as we can. However, this work can only be effective alongside robust law enforcement, which is why our relationship with government veterinary inspectors, the guard, and the ISPCA is so important.

“We must also tackle the donkey population issue through castration and effective end-of-life decision-making. Too often, we see suffering that could have been prevented or stopped much sooner.

“Unfortunately, we have been in contact a lot sooner [the Galway] case could have dealt with. Intervention is a key step to a positive outcome.”

Sera Husky Animal Rescue operator Maurice Enright said the Government needs to take action. He told Radio Kerry that certain other European countries “do not even need to have animal rescues”.

“The Government should look at these countries and see why they don’t have these problems – they don’t even need dog wardens.

“It is time to put in practice and introduce legislation to make it harder for people to either breed or get dogs.”

Countries such as Germany have a special assessment before a person is allowed to own a dog.

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