The DSPCA is not able to take animals in at the moment – with record numbers of people attempting to surrender their pets.
The animal welfare charity currently has 848 pets on its waiting list to be surrendered and no space in its animal shelter.
On Breakfast Briefing this morning, spokesperson Gillian Bird said people should exhaust all other avenues before trying to give up their pets.
She said pet owners that contact the charity have taken a “brave step” given the alternative – noting that the charity can often help them keep their pet by pointing them in the right direction on training and care.
“We are seeing a huge number of people coming into us looking to surrender their animals,” she said.
“It is not just dogs; it is also cats and rabbits and all sorts of animals that people are really looking to surrender.
“Surprisingly, it is older animals in a lot of cases or ones they have only got in the last year that they are really looking to surrender.”
This sweet baby girl is Lotus. She’s a 13 week old Staffie Shepherd cross. Her 6 siblings have been adopted & she’s the last one. She’s trying really hard to impress all the visitors in the hope of finding her forever home To adopt her https://t.co/pdwUB5QtO1 #dog #adopt pic.twitter.com/HhgG5H1VEs
— DSPCA (@DublinSPCA) March 13, 2023
Ms Bird said the charity has plenty of advice to offer families that are struggling with their pets.
“We try to talk to them and say look, if it is a dog, have you got a behavioural issue? do you want to talk to our dog training team? Do you want to get a free assessment?
“If it is something that is a behavioural issue, is it something that can be worked with?
“Sometimes people come to as a first point of contact when they are panicked thinking, ‘Oh God the dog growled at the child, what do we do?’
“So, in fairness, a lot of people will actually seek advice. They are still on our waiting list but they have gone off to get some advice which is good.”
This new mommy is Matcha. She was found as a heavily pregnant stray & had 9 kittens. Sadly 2 passed away. She’s being a very good mommy & keeping a close on eye her smallest baby. Paws crossed she continues to get stronger over the coming days #CatsOnTwitter #animalrescue pic.twitter.com/W3ND12FWW9
— DSPCA (@DublinSPCA) March 13, 2023
She said a lot of people eventually work out a way to keep their pet.
“It is really just one of these things where it is just, sometimes, it is the first port of call when people think, Oh, God we have to get rid of the dog.’
“That is not always an answer and, unfortunately, those numbers have gone up quite drastically since we actually published those figures as well because we’re not able to take animals in at the moment.”
Ms Bird said the charity does not judge anyone who comes to it looking for help.
“We would like to say, somebody who has actually made that step and contacted a charity like the DSPCA has made a brave move,” she said.
“They are actually admitting they have a problem and that is definitely something that has to be acknowledged.
“It is better than the people … unfortunately one of the reasons we are unable to take many animals at the moment is because the shelter is full of animals that have come into us that are lost, that are sick or that are injured and have just never been claimed.
“That is the, kind of, cowardly way out. Knowing that your cat has gone missing or deliberately letting it out and then not claiming it from a rescue centre when it shows up.”
Ms Bird said ending up in a shelter can be “very traumatic” for pets, with the experience causing stress and sometimes, further behavioural issues.
She urged anyone who is struggling to find a rental property that permits pets to offer landlords a pet deposit that can cover any potential damage to the property.