The easing of Covid-19 restrictions has resulted in the temporary closure of two animal shelters struggling with all types of breeds, including “designer dogs,” which will now be given up when people return to work.
Deel Animal Rescue in Co. Limerick and Coolronan Animal Rescue in Co. Meath have both had to temporarily close their doors as they have been unable to cope with the surrenders since the country reopened.
Some of those surrenders include “designer” breeds like Giant Schnauzer Dogs, Cockapoos, and Bichon Frises, which were in high demand during the lockdown when people started paying thousands to breeders.
These breeds were typically never seen in animal shelters in the pre-Covid era, according to rescue workers who took in dogs that originally would have cost almost € 2,000. However, the rescue centers are now saying that families who are back in the “rat race” and faced with time constraints no longer want the extra responsibilities of dogs.
Delivered greyhounds are also a huge financial burden, making up nearly half of the dogs that are rescued, according to Martina Quinn of Deel Animal Rescue. The rescue had to close their doors until they could house the 30 dogs and 40 cats – twice as many as possible – under one roof.
They also have to pay veterinary and kennel fees of up to € 100,000, which are financed by the Ministry of Agriculture in addition to a grant of € 3,000.
“We have to close temporarily. The past few weeks have been a constant rush of dogs and cats with nowhere to go,” she said.
“To make the picture clearer, most dogs, for example, are given away by their owners. Many of the dogs in our care come from the pounds in which they were given away by their families.
“Many others were handed over to us directly by their people. One in our care is waiting for a life-saving procedure, but most of them are waiting for routine stuff like microchips, castration, treating parasites – it all adds up at the vets.
“In addition to dogs in foster families, we currently have almost 20 dogs in private animal shelters, that’s 1,400 euros for just one week, we have 40 cats in foster families and our vet bills are already 15,000 euros.”
“Unfortunately, greyhounds always make up a large number of rescue missions and place an enormous strain on the resources of the rescue operations.
Martina says the three volunteers are struggling and are always on the phone to arrange pick-up and drop-off logistics and liaise with international rescue workers for possible homes.
“Lurchers and Gray Hounds are no longer being sold, but we have received a giant schnauzer, cocapoos and other breeds that were all the rage in lockdown. Ordinarily we would never see these races.
“In the past few weeks we have been threatened, verbally abused, yelled at on the phone and sent nasty e-mails. We were told by the owners that we are taking the dogs with us or having them euthanized for no reason.
“It is a terribly unfair thing to hang an animal’s life on someone like that. We are tired of excuses to get rid of family pets, and we have compassion for the real people who are broken because they are their best Friend must separate.
“We receive up to 10 calls and emails a day. We didn’t have any during the lockdown.
“We need to get the situation under control and get our bills under control, so we need to temporarily close. Asking veterinarians, ethologists, and trainers for advice should always be the first port of call for a responsible owner, and definitely not the threat of euthanasia.
“We’re always there for emergencies and thank our supporters and volunteers who keep us going.”
Meanwhile, Chris Kelly and Ramona Cunningham of Coolronan Rescue in Ballivor say they have taken in 14 dogs in the past three days.
“We get up to 12 calls a day. In one day there were 27 calls that dogs wanted to make. People are going back to work and school and the dog is now left at home all day because of separation anxiety.” , they said.
“So the parents come home and see that the dog destroyed the house and they don’t watch this every day so they call us to get the dogs.
“We took a ‘Newfie Poo’ – a Newfoundland dog that cost 1850 euros as a puppy, and a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Bichon Frize that would have cost well over 1000 euros. We even just adopted a Pomeranian who was given up in a house after 11 years.
“We’re closed at the moment. We have a number of dogs ready to go to Sweden just waiting for the vets – who are doing their best for us – to adjust them to different things. Every rescue is short before point at the moment. “