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The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has called on pet owners to be particularly vigilant of their animals during the current cold snap to avoid cases of unnecessary suffering arising. The ISPCA has witnessed many cases of cruelty and neglect in recent weeks due to the adverse weather conditions and it is offering advice to people to ensure animals are not placed at risk.

ISPCA Chairperson Barbara Bent, offers the following advice: “Since the beginning of the cold snap, we have witnessed an increase in reports of animals being left without sufficient food, water and shelter. We are calling on animal owners and members of the public to be vigilant during the current cold spell and winter months to report any neglect or cruelty to animals to the ISPCA on our National Animal Helpline  at 1890 515 515 or to our local member societies.”

The ISPCA is offering the following advice to people to promote consideration of animals during the cold weather.
• Ensure all animals that are outside have access to food, clean water and shelter; this includes dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep and birds also.
• Don't leave dogs out on the doorstep all day, or in a kennel with the door open facing into the freezing wind and snow. If a dog is chained in an open kennel it won’t be able to move around sufficiently in order to keep warm.
• Dogs that would normally live in an outside kennel should be put into a garage, shed or stable at night, instead of being left in an open kennel.
• When you are feeding the birds in your garden, you can use peanuts, birdseed or even some oatmeal. Don’t forget to put some water out also.
• Feral cats can get hungry too, so people should ensure there is an adequate supply of food left out for them.
• Horses, cattle and sheep need hay or haylage when the ground is frozen or in the snow. Be sure to call the National Animal Helpline at 1890 515 515 if you see farm animals or horses outside with no feed.
• Tethered Horses are also very vulnerable to the cold, wind and snow.
• Exotic pets need warmth more than ever in this weather, especially if there is an electricity outage. People who own this type of animal must ensure there is enough heat wherever they are kept.
• Elderly neighbours who have pets may need help to source, buy or carry home their pet food. If you’re visiting an elderly relative or neighbour, offer to bring food for their pets, as well as groceries for the elderly person themselves. You should also check that the animals have sufficient warmth and shelter.
• If you witness any incident of cruelty to animals, call the National Animal Helpline at 1890 515 515 to make a report.
Barbara Bent commented: “The advice is simple: consider the welfare of all animals during the cold weather and report any cruelty or neglect that you see. If everyone is vigilant, we can avoid further cases of suffering.”

The ISPCA urgently needs donations to help in protecting animals at risk in Ireland and in prosecuting those individuals who are responsible for acts of cruelty. Members of the public can make a secure donation online.

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