Limerick Animal Welfare rescued over 500 dogs and 370 cats in 2019 and has lots to rehome

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

 Limerick Animal Welfare rescued over 500 dogs and 370 cats in 2019 and has lots to rehome

Can you give Scooby a permanent, loving home? He along with many other cats and dogs at Limerick Animal Welfare need your help

THEY say dogs are man’s best friend but mankind can be so cruel to all breeds. In 2019, Limerick Animal Welfare took in over 500 dogs.

“This year sadly, we have seen yet again, lurchers and lurcher puppies suffering,” said Marie O’Connor, sanctuary manager.

“In the last few weeks we have taken in three adults that were covered in mange with horrifically overgrown nails. We can only imagine what conditions they had been living in. Blue and Hero are two lurcher puppies who nearly froze to death. Blue and Hero have stolen thousands of hearts from people following their story on Facebook and Instagram.

“Marbella is a beautiful brindle female lurcher who was found wounded. She was taken to the veterinary clinic and had an X-ray. Veterinary and Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) staff were shocked to discover that she had been shot and there were over fifty pellets embedded in her body.”

Marie said 2019 was an extremely busy year for LAW as the demand for their services continues to increase annually and veterinary costs escalate.

“The biggest challenge we faced during the year was the increase in the number of puppies and kittens needing shelter. We also experienced an increase in the number of horses and foals injured and dying. In the circumstances, we had to build additional stables and we are now in the process of putting up a barn to store additional hay for the winter.

“Our financial position continues to cause concern. The cost of running the sanctuary exceeds €60,000 each month and the veterinary costs this year will reach €180,000. The costs are continually rising, due to the increased intake of all the animals and the high cost of veterinary care and medicines. We have also experienced a big increase in badly injured animals requiring surgery,” said Marie.

To compound matters there is an increase in outbreaks of parvo virus and leptospirosis in the isolation kennels.

“This is due to the fact that it is no longer possible to buy vaccinations over the counter in a pharmacy. As a result, the cost of vaccinations has escalated and people can no longer afford to vaccinate their dogs and cats. It is so important to vaccinate all puppies and kittens,” she says.

Along with dogs and horses, there has been a huge upsurge in the number of calls to help litters of kittens.

The cat unit rehomed 308 felines in 2019.

“We would urge people to neuter and vaccinate their cats. The cat unit treated injured cats throughout the year for broken legs, broken pelvis, eye injuries and one kitten had a missing bottom lip that was surgically repaired. Another kitten had a top lip trauma where her lip had been split in two. The lip was successfully operated on and looked perfect when it was fully healed,” said Marie.

One of the equines they saved was William, a small Shetland pony. He collapsed in William Street outside the Limerick Animal Welfare shop. He was attached to a trap.

“William was brought to the sanctuary in Kilfinane after emergency veterinary treatment. He did not have a microchip, therefore there is no accountability and no prosecution,” said Marie.

This time of year their volunteers go out to the horses without food or shelter and leave hay and feed for them. Their equine vet treats injured horses and ponies that are abandoned and neglected in the city and county. They appeal for donations to buy hay for the horses during the winter months.

Marie also appealed to the Department of Agriculture to enforce the microchipping legislation for equines.

“It is never possible to identify the owner of an abused and neglected horse. The cruelty continues unabated and nobody can be held accountable,” she said.

They are always looking to the future in Limerick Animal Welfare.

“It is now necessary to extend our isolation facilities and provide a totally separate isolation for puppies. This will be one of our first big challenges in 2020 as additional funds will be needed for this most important building.

“We also plan to open our own veterinary clinic at the sanctuary. This will be to treat sanctuary animals and help cut down on veterinary costs. We have made provision for this clinic in the main building, but we will need funds for equipment and general fit out. We estimate that this will cost €25,000,” said Marie.

As well as the sanctuary, members of the public bring in injured and neglected dogs and cats to their city shops in Parnell Street and William Street. The shops serve as a drop off centre for the city. They also give out neutering vouchers from the shops several times during the year.

They have lots of pets looking for a second chance in life. You must have a fully enclosed garden. All dogs are neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and wormed. Adoption fee is €150 and a home check applies.

To adopt a cat the fee is €100 and all cats and kittens are neutered, vaccinated and wormed. There is no home check for cats. The sanctuary is open seven days a week, noon until 3pm, except Bank Holidays. Donations can be taken over the phone during office hours, on the Limerick Animal Welfare Facebook page, by PayPal, Text LAW4 to donate €4.

Marie appeals to everyone to get their pet microchipped if possible. A microchip costs around €20 and could save your dog’s life.

“Every dog should also wear a secure collar and identity tag at all times. When storms and high winds are forecast please make sure your pets are safe indoors and check gates and fences before letting them outside. Pets get lost continually during bad weather and often get injured as they are frightened and running in panic,” said Marie.

As the year ends and a new one one begins she says a huge thank you to their staff and all their loyal volunteers and supporters.

“Without your help we could not keep the sanctuary open.”