Drink and drugs contribute to animal cruelty in North Kerry – ‘Animals are suffering’

Maurice Enright of Sera Huskey and Animal Rescue in North Kerry with one of the lucky animals the charity helped rescue. Photo by Domnick Walsh.

Stephen FernaneKerryman

An Alsatian dog bottled in its head and a horse with sores and lacerations to its neck and legs are among some of the recent cases of animal cruelty that Maurice Enright of Sera Huskey Animal Rescue in North Kerry has dealt with.

Maurice believes cruelty is on the rise and he attributes much of it to the frequency of drink and drug taking. People are spending surplus money on mind-altering substances which, in some cases, is leading to increased aggression towards animals.

The Sera Huskey Animal Rescue charity say it is experiencing an unprecedented rise in cases of late, leading to calls for stricter penalties for those found guilty of animal cruelty.

“It’s the worst it’s been in over 10-years, without a shadow of a doubt,” Maurice said.

Maurice refutes the widely held belief that people are unable to care for their animals due to the cost-of-living crisis. This is not a leading cause in Maurice’s experience.

“Not one person has ever contacted me to say they can’t afford to mind their dog. That has never even come into it,” he said.

“In many cases that I deal with, there’s issues around drink and drugs causing animals to suffer as a result. They are taking their aggression out on animals that get in their way. Some horrible things have been done,” he said.

Getting dogs that are unsuited to specific lifestyles – owners and dogs – is another problem. Maurice insists people must first understand the breed of dog before they can understand the responsibility involved.

He cited a recent case in Listowel where an elderly person, who had been given a husky pup, is now too much for its owner to handle.

“There has never been a time in history when research is as easy as it is now. People just need to research before getting an animal. Understand the dog you’re getting,” he said.

"I’ve seen dogs being shot and with shot wounds simply because their owners didn’t care about fencing them in. A secure garden is so important to protecting dogs,” he added.

Maurice explained that his rescue - located near Lisselton in North Kerry - is full to capacity with the worry that more dogs are being abandoned every day.

In some instances, Maurice is being emotionally blackmailed that if he doesn’t take a dog in it will be abandoned.

“This is happening a lot now. I had a guy who wanted me to pay for vet bills. I told him we had 80 animals to feed every day and couldn’t afford it. The next day I got a call to say the dog was tied to a poll in town,” Maurice said.

“Obviously, we then had to take the dog in. It had a lot of skin lesions from sleeping on wet concrete floors. He also had a bad eye infection,” he added.

Maurice wants stricter laws and enforcement. He said this is difficult when there are sports like coursing, which he labels ‘cruel and unnatural’.

“We’re way behind some other European countries in terms of welfare. Then you have coursing. A lot of people out there won’t like this view, but it is, essentially, animal cruelty. You can’t bring in strong laws around cruelty as one law contradicts the other while you still have coursing,” he said.

Maurice explains that so-called ‘backyard breeders’ are also driving the numbers of dogs produced, purely for profit. This leads to a surplus that, in turn, leads to unwanted dogs.

“I’ve actually had backyard breeders asking me to take in surplus dogs. Can you believe that? That’s the neck some of these people have. People should research rescuing a dog instead of supporting these people,” said Maurice.

Lastly, Sera Huskey Animal Rescue is holding an open day this Sunday (May 28). It’s the first event since the pandemic ended and people are encouraged to come along and meet the dogs and ask the staff at Sera Huskey questions.

“When you decide to get a dog, you can’t just think of today or tomorrow. You got to think of the next 12 to 14 years. That’s the commitment involved. Please inform yourself of this responsibility,” Maurice said.