A voluntary organisation based in Mayo is close to a breaking point as it is finding it hard to rehome animals in their care.
North West SPCA, Ballina, has said that it is becoming ever more difficult to run their services as they have between 120-150 cats that need to be rehomed.
“We don’t just have the resources, the people and we don’t have anywhere to put the animals because we don’t have a shelter,” volunteers Sinéad O’Reilly told the Western People.
“So we are solely reliant on people in the community’s goodwill to take in these animals.”
It can prove hard for the organisation to find people suited for these animals, particularly in some cases if it’s rented accommodation.
“We have had a few different cases where people will foster for us but then the landlord isn’t happy about it and next thing they’re told – get rid of these animals or get out of the house. Unfortunately that seems to be a problem that comes around every so often,” Sinéad revealed.
“We also have the problem where we’re trying to rehome a healthy, neutered, vaccinated kitten, but you have a neighbour down the road whose cat has had six kittens and is giving them away left, right and centre and that’s going to continue the problem we’re trying to solve.”
North West SPCA receive a government grant of €54,000 from the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine but apart from that, they rely solely on donations, which makes it hard to run operations.
“You could imagine the amount of cats and kittens that we are rescuing, helping, neutering, sure that goes nowhere, it would hardly cover a couple of months of vet fees. We have to feed them and transport them. We’re all volunteers, so we rely heavily on community donations.
“People are very good and kind, but that’s only the cat side of things, then you have the dogs.”
Sinéad says that they get more dogs surrendered than they rehome, which she believes is ‘ridiculous’.
“I think it’s the realisation that dogs have to walked, make noise and bark. People may be working night shifts and the dog is barking at the postman, or anything like that, but the poor things end up coming back in to us.
“We don’t have the resources to take them but we know if we don’t, God knows where they’ll end up.”
North West SPCA is not-for-profit and is run by volunteers, like Sinéad, who all have full-time jobs on top of their work with the organisation.
“We’re cleaning up a problem that should be done by the local authority, but we’re not getting enough support.
“There are cities in the UK where you can’t get a kitten for love nor money if you don’t follow strict guidelines, like microchipping. It’s about time something like that was brought in here,” she added.
North West SPCA have been serving the community for over three decades and they are looking for some support back. They feel that if they weren’t in operation there would be a plethora of cats and dogs roaming streets in towns all over Mayo.
“There’s just been times when I’ve come home and bawled by eyes out thinking, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ because some of the stories are so sad, but then I think of the poor animals,” Sinéad said.