Before you write to us, you might find the answer to your question here!
Firstly you’ll want to check the animal you’ve rescued hasn’t actually strayed from her forever home. We’ve more detailed information on finding the original guardians of stray animals, advertising for a home and vetting the homes you find in our Finding Homes pages.
And do check out How to Find Homes for Pets. It’s an American link but has lots of useful advice relevant to Irish rehoming including how to screen callers wanting to adopt your rescue animal (do beware of unscrupulous callers).
Lastly, it goes without saying we’d recommend neutering your rescue animal, if it’s not already neutered. And we’d advise taking it to a vet for a medical check and vaccinations.
Fair play to you for looking after the poor mite – so many wouldn’t. And good luck!
our Neutering pages to find out why it's so important to neuter.
The top ten reasons to have your pet spayed or neutered were killed in shelters last year.
Finding a Vet
The online Golden Pages seems to have a fairly comprehensive listing of veterinary surgeons, eg.:
Note, however, that it isn't completely comprehensive - there's more than 2 vets in Bantry and surrounds, for example. So, do check your hardcopy Golden Pages too!
Personally, I'd ask friends and neighbours to recommend a vet, rather than just picking one from the internet listings.
Also note that you'll need to make an appointment with the vet for companion animal neutering - don't just turn up! The vet will let you know how to prepare your animal for the visit and care for them afterwards - for example, they mustn't eat anything for 12 hours before surgery.
For dogs, there is a subsidised neutering scheme available for low-income families through the Dog's Trust. You can get more info at their neutering hotline number - 1890 946 336. By ringing the number you can find out if you qualify, and also what vets are participating in the scheme. And if your vet isn't already part of the scheme, you could always ask them to join it! You should only be charged €20 for the neuter.
For cats normal vets fees are: €60 - €75 for a male; €70 -€100 for a female. Until recently we tended to neuter kittens at 6 months of age. But we've found that cats are getting their first pregnancy younger in recent years and have started neutering at 4 to 5 months.
Some vets will allow you to pay in instalments if you've not got the full fee to hand. If you're worried about finding the fee it's well worth asking an instalment plan is possible!
Keep in mind the fees for neutering are a comparatively small amount when compared to the cost of caring for litter after litter of kittens or puppies - or the moral cost of neglecting or killing them. And it is worth checking with local vets if they are involved in a subsidised neutering scheme. Unfortunately not many are - but with your encouragement more might join!
It's always great to hear from other people active in animal welfare and we always want to help! Before starting your own centre I'd recommend volunteering for an existing organisation. Animal welfare is costly and time consuming and funding is extremely difficult to get, particularly in this economic climate. I'd look online for local centres - Rescue Animals Ireland and TAGS are good places to start.
If you can't find an organisation online close to you, keep in mind it's entirely likely there are already individuals working independantly in your area who aren't online, so it's worth asking around. Check vets, boarding kennels and catteries, etc as people working with animals are likely to know about people rescuing them.
If you can find and join a group who's already in business you'll learn loads that will be useful when you do start your own organisation (having run my own business I wish I'd volunteered and/or worked in the field before I started as it would have saved me a lot of time and money).
If you set up your own group, you'll need people who know about fundraising, animal health and illness, business management, rehoming, publicity, etc. And having a group of committed individuals to help is a must. It's very easy to get burnt out, so look after yourself (and your fellow volunteers) too!! Note also, legally you will need to get charitable status.
We've been full on volunteering in animal welfare since 2002 and, in 2009 came to the conclusion, in the case of cats, that rescuing doesn't make any long term difference to any creature apart from those we rescue. Every year the number of animals in distress remained the same, despite our efforts. And we realised that addressing the overpopulation problem (by Trap Neuter Return (TNR)) is a long term solution to feline suffering - if we aim to neuter every cat in West Cork, the overpopulation will be arrested, there will be fewer cats competing for resources and there will be enough homes for those that need rescued. Alley Cat Allies in the US have loads of info on TNR if you're interested - and it's the sort of thing an individual can get going on their own - though it's always easier to be involved with a group of dedicated individuals!
And it's important to set up good relations with your local vets, regardless of which approach you take. Vets fees are probably the biggest expenditure for animal welfare groups (apart from salaries, but not many charities can afford salaries in the first place).
If you're a student, your college/university may have an animal welfare group - and, if it doesn't, you could start one up. If there's a veterinary department it's worth approaching them to see if they'd support a TNR programme run by the college - there's a few colleges in the US that do that with great success.
Hope this is useful. And good luck! Do keep in touch and let us know how you get on. And if you get a webpage for your rescue/TNR efforts, let us know and we'll put up a link to your site.
The ISPCA is the first point of call for animal cruelty in Ireland. Here's an extract from their webpages:
ISPCA Inspectors are the front line against animal cruelty in Ireland, investigating complaints of abandoned, neglected and cruelly treated animals.
With legal power under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA 2013), which came into force in March 2014, our Inspectors investigate complaints of animal cruelty and neglect. It is their job to establish the facts behind each case and decide whether or not there is evidence to suggest that an offence of cruelty has been or is being committed.
Where possible, our Inspectors use their communication skills and animal welfare knowledge to teach animal owners to care properly for their animals. If owners are unable to care for their animals appropriately, our Inspectors will offer the opportunity to surrender them. Prosecution is the last resort but, under certain circumstances, our Inspectors can seize animals and prepare case files that may result in legal proceedings.
To report cruelty to an animal, please:
- complete our confidential online complaint form here,
- call 1890 515 515 (Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm), or
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
The ISPCA has:
- 1 Chief Inspector
- 1 Senior Inspector
- 7 Inspectors
Their Inspectors cover 17 counties in Ireland. You can also see which local ISPCA affiliated member society is near you.