Overcrowded animal centre in urgent appeal for 'responsible' owners after rise in abandoned pets

Sat, Jul 28, 2012, 01:00

A SHARP rise in the number of abandoned pets has led to overcrowding at a prominent animal rescue centre in Dublin which has launched an urgent appeal for new homes for dogs, cats and other animals.

There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of animals being brought to the Dublin SPCA Animal Rehoming and Rescue Centre in Rathfarnham. It fears overcrowding may prevent it taking in more animals in need of help.

“We are full to bursting. We are in a situation now where we have too many animals and we are appealing to the public to help us out by adopting or fostering some of the animals,” said Gillian Bird, head of education at the centre.

“We are looking for people who can provide good long-term homes and ideally be at home for a few hours a day. Don’t come in and adopt a pet because you feel bad that you didn’t bring your kids on holiday. We need responsible pet-owners.”

She said the centre had seen a big increase in the number of kittens and cats coming in.

“Cats prefer to breed in warmer weather. We had a mild winter and March was unseasonably warm, so we expect an avalanche of kittens in the next few weeks.”

Ms Bird said fewer people were willing to adopt animals because of their financial situation and they were unsure if they could afford to keep a pet long-term.

Brian Gillen, chief executive of Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the centre had seen more animals come in than ever before.

“Animals have been abandoned and tied to the gate beside the centre and we have taken in some that have been left on the M50,” he said. “Animals are the first thing to go when people are under financial pressure, so we are full up.”

He said there were more rabbits than ever before but they were not being adopted. “It is difficult to rehome rabbits. There are exotic pets like snakes and reptiles and terrapins that also need homes.”

Animals had also become victims of fashion fads, Ms Bird added. “People bought micro-pigs because celebrities were doing it. We have several pigs in the centre that were abandoned because they got too big. A 15-stone sow was found abandoned in somebody’s back garden.”

People wishing to adopt or foster animals have to fill in an application form to ascertain their suitability, and an animal will then be matched up with the person.

A €130 adoption fee for cats and dogs covers neutering, microchipping, worming and flea treatment. If a kitten or puppy is adopted, the price includes neutering at a later date.