Thousands join walk seeking tougher animal cruelty laws




Thousands of people inspired by a miracle dog’s survival story have backed calls for tougher animal cruelty laws.

As a handful of people took part in the 152nd weekly bondholder bailout protest through Ballyhea in north Cork, organisers of the “Walk for Fionn” event estimate that between 1,500 and 2,000 people walked through Curraheen on the western outskirts of the city, to raise funds for the wonder hound, and urging the government to do more to protect abused dogs like Fionn.

“It was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cork Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG) spokesperson Margaret Twohig said.

“It was a remarkable show of solidarity — all inspired by one small dog who was left to die.

“It sends out a clear message that things need to change, that animal welfare legislation needs to be strengthened, more effective, and enforced.

“Animals don’t have a voice. They depend on people. And the message should be, if people abuse animals, they should face the full rigours of the law.”

She said DAWG and other animal rescue shelters will now seek a meeting with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to discuss their proposals for beefing up animal welfare and animal cruelty laws.

Fionn the foxhound was neglected, beaten, and left to die in woods in Douglas, just outside Cork City, before Christmas.

His skull was shattered. Emaciated and covered in cuts and pressure sores, he was unable to lift his head.

But he has been nursed back to health by Cork DAWG and a volunteer foster family.

They highlighted his plight, and his story has gone viral around the world.

Fionn was at the walk yesterday and posed happily for photographs. Some people were in tears meeting him.

Mr Twohig said they were inundated with messages of support in recent days, with people in Australia, Los Angeles, New York, New Zealand, Canada, Spain and Germany, staging smaller solidarity walks for him yesterday.

Walk organiser Oonagh O’Brien confirmed last night that the event raised €18,500, with every single cent going to DAWG.

Ms Twohig said they will use the money to improve kennel conditions at their shelter, which was flooded and badly damaged in the Christmas storms, and help fund their ongoing work.

“People are talking a lot about Fionn but there are a lot of other dogs who need our help too,” she said.

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