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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Sanctuary finds it hard to re-home large dogs

Myles Buchanan

Published 23/08/2014 | 00:00

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Gypsie the lurcher

WICKLOW SPCA is finding it increasingly difficult to re-home larger dogs currently residing at Sharpeshill Animal Sanctuary while they await new loving families.

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Currently the Ballygannon facility is looking after between 50 and 60 dogs and the same numbers of cats.

TJ Myron, Welfare Inspector with Wicklow SPCA, has been working at Sharpeshill since 2005 and says there has been no let up when it comes to abandoned, and often abused, animals.

'It's a lot harder to get homes for the larger dogs. People pick the cute little dogs but don't seem as keen on the larger breeds. We have lurchers, collies and mix breed dogs that we are finding it difficult to find homes for. Visitors see these dogs bouncing around the place in their pen and that also often puts them off. What they don't realise is that the dogs behave completely differently when they are out of this environment. Some of the larger dogs mightn't be suitable for families with children but they would be perfect for adults. They have a lot of love to offer.'

Summer can often be a particularly hard time for Sharpeshill as the number of people willing to adopt a dog drops during the likes of July and August.

'It's a quiet time of year because so many people are away on holidays. Hopefully it will pick up because we are always on the look out for suitable homes for our animals. Fortunately, in the past month or so we haven't had a case involving a severely malnourished dog. Most of the dogs we are receiving are well looked after. Some people just mightn't be able to afford them anymore. I don't know why but other pet owners seem to just get sick of their dog.'

The number of unwanted cats abandoned and now cared for by staff at Sharpeshill is also on the increase.

'We have more cats than anything, cats and kittens. People are dropping them off here regularly. Some of them haven't been looked after at all and have ring-worm and cat-flu. People either forget or don't realise that cats are very susceptible to disease if they aren't looked after.'

There are also fears that the winter months will see a repeat of last year when the WSPCA had to contend with an unprecedented level of abandoned horses left to fend for themselves throughout the county.

'It's not too bad at the moment because the grass is growing and the horses have something to eat. It's when the winter approaches and the grass isn't growing anymore when the horses really start going downhill. It was a big problem last year and we are praying the same thing doesn't happen again this year.,' states TJ.

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