26 Jan 2022

A dog is for life, not just for Covid - Limerick Animal Welfare reflects on 'challenging' year

A dog is for life, not just for Covid - Limerick Animal Welfare reflects on 'challenging' year

Every pet at the Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) sanctuary in Kilfinane 'feels loved, warm, safe and secure'.

THE BIGGEST challenges Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) faced in 2021 were “the huge increase in unwanted kittens and puppies needing shelter”.

Marion Fitzgibbon, director, said they experienced a big increase in puppies and unwanted dogs looking for homes in the second half of the year when “people started to go back to work and did not have time to look after the puppies they bought during lockdown”.  

“In addition, we also experienced an increase in the number of horses and foals injured and dying.  Many of the autumn horse sales were cancelled because of the pandemic and the result was an increase in the number of unwanted yearlings.

“In July, we took in 130 kittens and many of these were litters needing to be bottle fed. This year we decided to microchip all kittens before re-homing as many kittens coming to the sanctuary cannot be identified,” said Marion.

The pandemic caused the closure of LAW’s charity shops from January until May. The sanctuary also had to close to the public but remained open for the intake of abandoned and unwanted animals.

Sanctuary manager in Kilfinane, Marie O’Connor, said at LAW every animal “feels loved, warm, safe and secure”.  

“There are so many cases of neglect and cruelty but during Christmas staff and volunteers made sure every animal at the sanctuary had a present,” said Marie.

Marion said the most rewarding part of their work is when they can save an animal and stop its suffering.

There are countless examples during  2021 where an animal’s life was changed thanks to LAW. In positive news, the work on the clinic is nearing completion after it was delayed due to Covid.  

“We hope the fit out will be completed before the spring puppies and kittens start to arrive. This should help reduce veterinary costs and cut down time driving to veterinary clinics several times each week. The most difficult part of our job is not being able to reach out to all the animals that need our help. It is very sad when an animal arrives and it is too late to intervene. The mindless cruelty to animals is the hardest part of our work."

“We continue to provide shelter for as many horses as possible. We also provide an equine service and our equine Vet treats injured equines that are abandoned and neglected in the city and county. During the winter months we provide hay for the starving horses and ponies. The sanctuary also gives shelter to rabbits and goats. We would appeal to everyone to get their pets microchipped if possible. A microchip costs €15 or €20 but it is very important and could save your pet’s life,” said Marion.

LAW’s financial position continues to cause concern.  

“The cost of running the sanctuary continues to increase. The budget for 2021 was €850,000 and our income was greatly reduced due to the closure of the shops and the sanctuary. It was possible to keep the staff employed due to the Government help with Covid payments.

“However, we are very concerned that these payments are due to be phased out in the New Year. We appreciate the Department of Agriculture grant of €76,000, which we have received for 2022,” said Marion.

Both she and Marion want to say a huge thank you to our “wonderful staff and all our loyal volunteers and supporters”. 

“Facebook and Paypal donations have ensured that the Sanctuary continues to remain open for the intake of animals during this difficult time. Thank you to everyone that brought presents and donations for the animals and staff during the year and at Christmas. Please continue to support your Limerick Animal Welfare Charity and happy New Year to you all.”

You can donate through Limerick Animal Welfare’s Facebook page or by texting LAW4 to 50300 to donate €4.

If you would like to rehome a pet, email

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