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ISPCA receive over 69,000 calls to national animal cruelty helpline

The ISPCA has today launched its annual Inspectorate Report highlighting 21 prosecutions initiated by the ISPCA under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA) that were finalised in court in 2017, more than any previous year.


These prosecutions represent some of the horrific cases of animal cruelty and distressing situations ISPCA Inspectors face during the course of their work on a regular basis. 

The report outlines that 16,211 calls were made to the ISPCA’s National Animal Cruelty Helpline in 2017 resulting in 3,273 investigations, 1,250 animals being seized or surrendered, 19 new prosecutions initiated and 21 cases finalised in court.  

Since the AHWA came into force only four years ago, the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline has handled 69,211 calls, 14,338 investigations, 4,045 animals were seized or surrendered, 111 prosecutions have been initiated and 46 of these having been finalised in court to-date including the 21 finalised in 2017.


Whilst the ISPCA have been disappointed at some of the penalties imposed, last year saw the first custodial sentences imposed for offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act including an 18 month sentence for cruelty offences in conjunction with a life ban on keeping animals imposed on a man who brutally killed his own dog, and a two month custodial sentence imposed on a man who failed to seek appropriate veterinary treatment for a dog with severe injuries to its jaw.

The increase in prosecutions is an indication that ISPCA Inspectors are having an impact on identifying and dealing with animal cruelty, but so much more could be done with sufficient resources. The ISPCA is therefore appealing for more funding to help fight animal cruelty across Ireland and to allow the ISPCA to reach the eight counties which currently do not have an ISPCA Inspector.


ISPCA CEO Dr Adrew Kelly said: “Our Inspectors have never been under so much pressure and although we recruited a part-time Inspector in 2017 bringing the total number to nine, there are large parts of Ireland that our Inspectors cannot reach. Our resources are now stretched to breaking point and we need more Inspectors on the ground to deal with reports of animal cruelty. Our aim is to recruit enough Inspectors to cover the whole of the country and we are appealing to the nGovernment and the animal loving public to help us with this work.  It costs more than €50,000 to keep an Inspector on the road including vehicle costs, veterinary costs, uniform and equipment, administrative support and salary. With 88% of our funding received from members of the public and through gifts in wills, the ISPCA relies heavily on public support to continue our vital work preventing animal cruelty and alleviating animal suffering”.

Minister Michael Creed, who officially launched the Inspectorate Report on behalf of the ISPCA said:  “My Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is very pleased to support the work of the ISPCA. As the nation’s largest animal welfare organisation, they are at the forefront of preventing cruelty to animals and the cases outlined in the Inspectorate report highlights the remarkable work being carried out by the ISPCA. We encourage members of the public to report any suspected animal cruelty so that those responsible for cruelty can be held accountable under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.  My Department looks forward to continuing engagement with the ISPCA to ensure that all animals are protected”.


If you can support the ISPCA, please make a single donation or consider becoming a regular donor by visiting our webpage here   



ISPCA Inspectors became authorised officers under the AHWA in May 2014 and since then have used their statutory powers effectively to deal with animal neglect, cruelty and abuse. Although we would like to see stronger penalties for animal cruelty to act as a deterrent, we would like to get the message across that all animal owners and anyone who looks after animals have a legal obligation to provide them with their welfare needs. Failure to do so will result in them being held to account. The ISPCA will not tolerate animal cruelty and will do all that we can to stamp it out in Ireland.


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