ISPCA resources 'stretched to breaking point'

ISPCA resources 'stretched to breaking point'
A dog removed from a puppy farm in Myshall, Co Carlow by the ISPCA.

The ISPCA seized 995 animals and carried out 3,200 investigations and initiated 32 prosecutions last year, according to the charity’s 2016 Inspectorate Report, writes Joe Leogue.

The report was launched at the Department of Agriculture yesterday, and the organisation took the opportunity to appeal for more government funding and donations from the public to support the work it does.

While recent legislative changes have granted the ISPCA powers of enforcement, it says that 90% of its income comes from public donations and through gifts in wills.

“The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which came into force three years ago, was a significant step forward for animal welfare in Ireland, but like any legislation it is only as good as its enforcement,” ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said.

“Our inspectors became authorised officers under the AHWA in May 2014 and since then have used their statutory powers effectively to deal with animal neglect, cruelty, and abuse. In 2016 alone, our inspectors initiated 32 prosecutions and saw 15 finalised in court with successful conclusions.

“Although we would like to see stronger penalties for animal cruelty to act as a deterrent, we would like to get the message across that all animal owners and anyone who looks after animals have a legal obligation to provide them with their welfare needs. Failure to do so will result in them being held to account,” he said.

However, Dr Kelly said that the ISPCA only has eight inspectors covering 17 counties.

“Our resources are stretched to breaking point and we need more inspectors on the ground dealing with animal cruelty. Our aim is to recruit enough inspectors to cover the whole of the country and we would like to appeal to the animal-loving public to help us with this work,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to ask the Government to support the ISPCA in our fight against animal cruelty both financially and through legislation. As our services increasingly become stretched to capacity, I would also like to call upon the Irish public to continue to support the good work of the ISPCA in any way that they can,” Dr Kelly said.

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