VULNERABLE animals are being dumped and abandoned across the county at unprecedented levels because more and more cashstrapped owners can no longer afford to keep them.
While most struggling families look for alternative accommodation for their pets, other less compassionate owners are simply dumping their animals, according to one local charity that rehomes and unwanted pets.
Animal Help Net Kerry, which operates from Tralee, has been shocked by the number of animals being dumped across the county, from new-born puppies to fully grown dogs and cats.
The problem has become increasingly prevalent in the last six months and does not appear to be confined to any particular area of the county.
Jean Campell, who operates the charity with a number of other volunteers, believes that more and more people cannot afford to care for their animals anymore, and some are resorting to dumping them wherever they can. Among some of the more disturbing finds were five puppies found in a black bag on the Tralee/Abbeyorney road ( one of whom died); two newborn puppies abandoned in a laundry basket in a housing estate in Killeen, neither of which survived; a jack russell pup found in a shoe box outside the door of a house in Castleisland and two puppies in a bin in Tralee town.
The latest incident was
early last week when a two week Yorkshire Terrier puppy was dumped from a van in a housing estate in Listowel.
Volunteers at the charity, which relies totally on fundraising and foster carers to house and medicate these deserted animals, say they are gobsmacked at the increasing numbers of people blatantly abandoning their animals instead of coming to the charity and those like them to seek alternative accommodation.
Fellow volunteer Wendy O'Connor explained that the charity organises specialised adoption days sat Eugene McGrath's Veterinary Clinic in Tralee each Wednesday form 2pm to 4pm, which helps rehome some of these animals.
However, more foster carers are constantly being sought across the county to meet demand.
The charity also posts regular pictures of abandoned and straying animals on the Animal Help Net Kerry Facebook page and is encouraging anyone who comes across these animals to contact them at ( 066) 7122250 or (086) 8127967.