The options for adopting rescue dogs in Ireland

This week on the Pat Kenny Show, we started by expressing concern about the lenient sentences given to people found guilty of animal cruelty in Ireland. We then discussed choosing a rescue dog in Ireland, before answering the usual selection of queries from listeners.

Choosing a rescue pet in Ireland

People make difference choices when getting a new dog. Many people choose a cross bred dog from their local pound or rescue centre, and this has much to commend it. Ireland has a huge surplus of unwanted dogs, with thousands being euthanased every year. If a home can be given to one of these individuals, then it can mean that one less dog is killed.

There are hundreds of animal rescue groups in Ireland, and the best way to find a rescue pet is to start with a website: http://rescueanimalsireland.ie/

This allows you to browse through rescues in your own part of the country, looking at the various animals that are currently available for rehoming. There are two main ways that you can take on a rescue dog:

Adopting from the pound

When a stray dog has been in the local authority pound for five days, the animal becomes the property of the state, and one of three things will happen:

  1. The dog may be euthanased e.g. If considered unsuitable for rehoming on safety or health grounds
  2. The dog may be given to a local dog rescue group, and rehomed from there
  3. The dog may be rehomed directly to a member of the public. To adopt a dog from a pound you need to buy a dog licence, pay a fee if applicable – generally 20 to 60 euro, and bring some ID. The dog will be rehomed to you in the same condition as it entered the pound. Most pounds do not vaccinate, spay/neuter or microchip the dog.

Adopting from a rescue

Animals may enter a dog rescue group in two ways: from the pound or by being left in by a member of the public. Rescue groups tend to take more of a proactive role in the rehoming process, ensuring that they are vaccinated and micro chipped, as well as being spayed/neutered if well enough and old enough. They will also be treated for worms and fleas. Rescues tend to carry out assessments, checking an animal with other dogs, cats and children to try to match each dog to the ideal home.

As part of the matching process, most rescues ask you to complete an adoption questionnaire, giving information about your household and what sort of dog you are looking for. Once this has been assessed, the rescue will usually send a volunteer to carry out a home check.

Assuming all goes well, you will then be shown a few animals that might suit you, and person-to-dog meetings will be set up. You will often be given help to ensure that you choose an animal that suits your situation.

Once you have made your mind up, comprehensive paper work will be completed, and you will be asked to make a donation which varies from rescue to rescue. This is to help two cost centres:

  1. The specific costs for your rescue dog
    Vet bills, spay/neuter, micro-chipping and vaccination of the animal. If this had not been done on your behalf, you would have to pay the vet to have these things done, so it often represents good value.
  2. The general costs of the rescue
    Including transport, kennelling and food, -although these organisations are generally run by volunteers, they are often very short of funds for their general organisation, and donations are their main source of finance.

How do you choose a new pet?

The precise type of pet is a very personal choice, but in general, it’s best to liaise with animal rescue workers who have a great deal of experience in matching pets and people. Perhaps the most important factor is actually meeting the animal. There is definitely an intangible chemistry that may or may not be there: you have to make a judgement with your head, but if your heart doesn’t also say “yes, then it isn’t going to work.

Many animal rescues (eg DSPCA, Dogs Trust) give excellent follow up back up support, including helping you to deal with behavioural issues that may arise. It can take some time for a new dog to settle into a home, and behavioural advice is often needed to make sure that you teach the dog the correct type of boundaries and behaviour.

A few tips on getting a new dog

  • All new dogs should now be microchipped and registered, and when taking on a new dog you should be given a registration certificate, and you should apply to have this transferred into your name. Currently, this is only legally enforceable for puppies born after 1st June, but by April next year, it will apply to dogs of all ages changing hands.
  • Double check that vaccinations are up to date: if in doubt, ask your local vet to look at the vaccine certificats that came with your dog.

It’s worth mentioning a very cool new mobile phone app when looking for a rescue dog: Fourpaws is a central place for Rescues to post profiles and it’s being dubbed the ‘Tinder for Rescue Dogs’

To find out more, read this and see here in the Irish Examiner

The Great Irish Dog Walk

This event is coming up on Saturday 26th Sept 2015 to help raise funds for DSPCA – walk starts from DSPCA on Mount Venus Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.

Visit http://www.dspca.ie/greatirishdogwalk to find out more.

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