Linda Martin already getting requests to take in animals as she launches The Dublin Dog Hub
Former Eurovision winner Linda Martin has officially launched her new dog sanctuary in north Dublin.
Ian McKellen was unable to make it, but familiar faces such as Louis Walsh and Anne Doyle joined in the ribbon cutting for The Dublin Dog Hub in Meakstown, Finglas.
Lord of the Rings star McKellen had hoped to attend, but could not make today’s event due to rehearsals for Mother Goose at the Bord Gais Theatre.
Newly-built kennels, a veterinary area and facilities have been installed on the site which has been in the works for the past two years.
“I’ve always loved animals and been involved in animal rescue,” said Ms Martin, who has 13 dogs at home.
“Horses, dogs, cats, you name it, it’s come through my house over the years. When Ashtown pound closed two years ago, I thought right, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.
“I applied for planning permission on this land and that took nearly two years. Today I’m about 90pc finished, there are still lots of things that have to be fixed, but I’m here,” she added.
Although the centre is not officially open yet, it has already received a number of requests to take in dogs this week.
“I can’t take anything at the minute, we are not operational yet,” Linda said, adding she is not yet able to give an official opening date.
The sanctuary owner said buying new puppies as Christmas or birthday presents for children is “wrong”, and urged people to consider whether they have the time and space for a pet.
“When we went into lockdown parents were buying puppies to entertain the children, and of course they go back to work and the kids get fed up of the dog,” she said.
“Suddenly they need to return it, and the puppy farmers won’t take them back, so it falls on the rescue centres.
“We have the laws, we just don’t have the resources and the staff to put those laws into operation. We have to enforce it and there has to be control put on puppy farmers,” she added.
Long-time friend Louis Walsh, who attended today’s launch, said: “Linda is all about animal rights, she was always into animals and saving them.
“This is something she has always dreamt about and she has put blood, sweat and tears into this.
“I’m delighted it’s open. If you have a dog you have to love them and you have to care for them. They’re like people, and Linda says they are more loyal.
“They always love you, even if you are in good form or bad form,” he added.
Locals came out to visit the sanctuary today and performances were given by Irish dancers and musicians, before Fr Damien O’Reilly blessed the sanctuary.