ISPCA issues ‘urgent’ appeal after rise in costs linked to pandemic pet abandonment

Charity rescued almost 700 animals in first quarter of year, resulting in 80 per cent increase in number of animals under its care

The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has launched an “urgent national appeal” in response to what it says has been a sharp increase in the number of animal cruelty cases across the country.

During the first quarter of the year, the ISPCA rescued almost 700 animals, an 80 per cent increase in the number of animals under its care.

As a result, their four centres in Donegal, Longford, Mallow and Wicklow have reached maximum occupancy levels.

The post-pandemic surge in cases has placed “a significant financial burden and demand for space on the charity”, it said, adding: “More innocent animals are being abandoned, abused or neglected than ever before.”


To accommodate the growing number of animals rescued, the ISPCA has installed temporary facilities and utilised private kennels, leading to “substantial, unforeseen costs”.

Its estimated annual costs have risen to over €500,000 solely to house dogs in private kennels or temporary facilities.

Dogs, in particular, have been at the forefront of cases of abandonment or cruelty since the pandemic, the ISPCA said.

“The pandemic may be over, but its impact is going to stay with our pets for some time into the future,” said Dr Pete Wedderburn, a veterinary surgeon and trustee of the ISPCA.

“There is now more than ever an urgent need for the public to get behind the ISPCA to provide a safe haven for those animals,” he said.

Dr Cyril Sullivan, chief executive of the ISPCA called the situation “a crisis” and called on the Irish public to support the animal charity “any way they can”.

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times