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Calls to animal cruelty hotline hit 400 per day

A SHOCKING 60pc increase has been recorded in the number of calls about animal cruelty to a dedicated emergency line.

Animal welfare group the DSPCA said it was receiving on average 150 more calls a day, up from a the previous level of 250.

It made the revelation while welcoming the enactment of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, which replaces the "outdated" Protection of Animals Act 1911.


The organisation said the new legislation improves the rights of animals, increases the powers of seizure in neglected situations and allows for the prevention of cruelty in a greater number of situations.

It will also increase the penalties for convictions, the DSPCA said.

The group's chief executive Brian Gillen said: "The introduction of modern animal welfare legislation will reduce the unnecessary suffering on animals as authorities now have the backing of appropriate legislation.

"This is particularly important with regard to trafficking of animals which remains a significant issue in Ireland. In those cases, where trafficking is suspected, we will now be able to trace the source of those engaged in this cruel trade and prosecutions will be possible."

On an average day, the DSPCA receives more than 400 calls to its emergency and cruelty line.

"So far this year the DSPCA has seen an increase in the numbers of calls it receives each day with calls concerning animal cruelty increasing by 60pc," it said.

Spokeswoman Gillian Bird told the Herald it is receiving between 20 and 40 calls a day from members of the public wanting to surrender pets.

Dr Andrew Kelly, chief executive of animal welfare organisation the ISPCA, said: "For too long, our fully trained inspectors have had to deal with horrendous cruelty to animals. This act will enable them to be more proactive and to concentrate on the prevention of cruelty rather than having to wait for cruelty to occur before being able to take action.

"We look forward to working with the Department of Agriculture, the gardai and other interested parties in maximising the benefits of this new act."


Dogs Trust executive director Mark Beazley acknowledged the "extensive and inclusive consultation process carried out by Minister Simon Coveney" and his officials at the Department of Agriculture Food which has resulted in legislation "will be the envy of our European neighbours".

And ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said he and his colleagues have been attempting to work with "archaic and ineffectual laws" for too long.

"The new act will close up old loopholes and will allow us to address welfare issues in a far more effective manner," the inspector said.