The ISPCA handled a record 17,338 calls about animal cruelty last year with its staff carrying out 3,494 inspections and taking 1,102 animals into care.
The charity unveiled its annual report today and noted, that between 2013 and 2018 since the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA) was introduced, it had dealt with 86,549 calls from the public which resulted in 5,147 animals being taken into care in the intervening period.
During 2018, the ISPCA helped gardaí secure 18 successful prosecutions for animal cruelty in the courts.
The charity said that while it had been "disappointed with the penalties imposed in some cases", it welcomed a three-year prison term handed down to a Carlow man who pleaded guilty last October to 30 charges of animal cruelty. He was also banned for life from keeping dogs or horses.
This case was the biggest in the ISPCA’s history and involved the removal of 340 dogs and 11 horses.
ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling said that in his 20 years’ service he had never seen such extreme suffering on such a scale.
Mr Dowling said: "It was just harrowing."
In its annual report, the charity highlighted a number of other successful prosecutions which reportedly illustrated the impact by ISPCA inspectors on likely offenders.
But it said so much more could be done if the ISPCA had sufficient resources.
The ISPCA is appealing to the Government and the public for more funding to help fight animal cruelty enabling the society to reach counties not currently covered.
It costs approximately €50,000 to keep an ISPCA inspector on the road including vehicle costs, veterinary costs, uniform and equipment, administrative support and salary.
With the majority of ISPCA funding received from members of the public and through gifts in wills, the ISPCA relies heavily on public support to continue our work preventing animal cruelty and alleviating animal suffering.
“We have never been busier or under so much pressure and our resources are dangerously stretched. There are many areas in Ireland we are currently unable to reach so we need to expand our Inspectorate," ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling said.
He said the charity also needed to develop animal accommodation facilities to enable it to take in the volume of vulnerable animals its inspectors may want to remove from sub-standard situations.
The charity is issuing an urgent appeal asking the public to make a donation online.