THE BIGGEST challenges Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) faced in 2021 were “the huge increase in unwanted kittens and puppies in need of shelter”.
Marion Fitzgibbon, manager, said they had seen a surge in the number of unwanted puppies and dogs looking for homes in the second half of the year when “people started going back to work and haven’t had time to look after the puppies they bought during the lockdown.”
“In addition, we have also seen an increase in the number of injured and dying horses and foals. Many fall horse sales have been canceled due to the pandemic and the result has been an increase in unwanted yearlings.
“In July we took in 130 kittens and many of them were litters that needed to be bottle fed. cannot be identified,” Marion said.
The pandemic caused LAW’s charity shops to close from January to May. The sanctuary also had to close to the public but remained open to welcome abandoned and unwanted animals.
Kilfinane sanctuary manager Marie O’Connor told LAW that every animal “feels loved, warm, safe”.
“There are so many cases of neglect and cruelty, but over Christmas staff and volunteers made sure every animal in the sanctuary had a gift,” Marie said.
Marion said the most rewarding part of their job is when they can save an animal and stop its suffering.
There are countless examples in 2021 where an animal’s life has been changed thanks to LAW. In positive news, work at the clinic is nearing completion after being delayed due to Covid.
“We are hoping the landscaping will be completed before the spring puppies and kittens start arriving. This should help reduce veterinary costs and cut down on driving time to veterinary clinics several times a week. The hardest part of our job is not being able to reach all the animals that need our help. It’s very sad when an animal arrives and it’s too late to intervene. Indiscriminate animal cruelty is the hardest part of our job.”
“We continue to provide shelter for as many horses as possible. We also provide equine service and our equine veterinarian treats injured equines that are abandoned and neglected around the city and county. During the winter months we provide hay to hungry horses and ponies. The sanctuary is also home to rabbits and goats. We urge everyone to have their pets microchipped if possible. A microchip costs 15 or 20 € but it is very important and can save your animal’s life”, explains Marion.
LAW’s financial situation continues to cause concern.
“The cost of running the sanctuary continues to rise. The budget for 2021 was €850,000 and our income has been greatly reduced due to the closure of businesses and the sanctuary. It has been possible to keep staff employed thanks to government aid for Covid payments.
“However, we are very concerned that these payments are expected to be phased out in the new year. We appreciate the Ministry of Agriculture grant of €76,000, which we have received for 2022,” Marion said. .
She and Marion would like to say a huge thank you to our “wonderful staff and all of our loyal volunteers and supporters”.
“Facebook and Paypal donations have enabled the Sanctuary to remain open to welcome animals during this difficult time. Thank you to everyone who brought gifts and donations for animals and staff during the year and at Christmas. Please continue to support your Limerick animal welfare charity and happy new year to all.
You can donate via Limerick Animal Welfare Facebook Page or by texting LAW4 to 50300 to donate €4.
If you would like to rehome a pet, email [email protected]