By Caroline Spencer
The latest lockdown has seen dramatic changes for animal shelters in Galway.
Galway SPCA has seen a staggering increase of animal abandonments in the past year.
The charity’s shops have had to close under the current Level-5 restrictions. People are being urged not to donate animal supplies due to the high volumes of donations. Office workers have had to work remotely.
With the current restrictions, adoptions are harder to facilitate for the shelter. Volunteers and visitors are not able to enter the premises. Potential forever families can fill out adoption forms online.
To help mitigate the situation the shelter has begun to hold online auctions. Supporters can bid on items such as collars and animal-inspired prints, toys, and stationery. The proceeds from these auctions give a much-needed financial boom to the shelter.
There are other positive developments for Galway SPCA. NUI Galway lecturer Dr Linsey Meyers has written a book about an unruly gerbil and their hapless owner Aoife. The book is titled Mootsy and the AWFULLY big bite! The book is illustrated by eight-year-old Tara Caniffe, the very talented daughter of Dr Meyers. All profits from the book will go directly to Galway SPCA.
The recent Christmas period saw an increase in pet adoptions. However, according to perennial reports, in the early year period the rate of animal abandonment rises.
During prolonged lockdowns, many people are adopting animals on a whim. As the realities of caring for a pet come hit home, owners are increasingly surrendering animals at shelters. In too many cases, animals are abandoned completely.
Galway SPCA is sadly not alone in dealing with an influx of animal abandonments in the past year.
In late 2020, footage of a dog being tied to a gate and abandoned spread across the country. The dog, named Beau, was tied to the Dogs Trust gate overnight for seven hours.
The charity publicly beseeched pet owners to ask for help if they wanted to surrender their pets. Abandoning pets like Beau can lead to terrible health problems that require expensive treatments.
A statement from the charity over the incident states “we fear our veterinary costs will be even higher in 2021 and will be relying on the generosity of the dog-loving public”.
Galway SPCA is also asking people who are considering giving up their pets to get in touch. With lowering temperatures many animals are vulnerable to the elements. Despite the reduced space and resources, the Galway SPCA remains committed to caring for animals and finding families for them. “Please remember pets are for life not just pandemics.”