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The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has launched an appeal for urgent donations to assist its work in protecting animals by highlighting the increase in abandonment, cruelty and neglect to animals as a result of the economic downturn. The ISPCA is also asking people not to give a puppy as a surprise gift this Christmas.

The ISPCA has recorded a significant increase in the number of calls to its National Animal Cruelty Helpline to the end of November 2010, compared to the same period last year. There were 13,890 calls to the helpline so far this year, compared to 9,496 in the first eleven months of 2009.

Conor Dowling, Chief Inspector of the ISPCA, commented: “These figures clearly demonstrate the demands placed on our organisation. They are also indicative of the effect the recession has had on the plight of animals in Ireland. We have noted a sharp rise in the number of calls to our helpline year on year particularly relating to cruelty, neglect and abandonment of horses. We are calling on people to make a donation to the ISPCA or purchase one of our thoughtful gifts this Christmas. It is a common misconception that our busiest time is after Christmas, when puppies are abandoned by their new owners. However, animal welfare organisations across Ireland are finding other times of year just as busy, as people abandon their older dogs”.

The ISPCA has also warned people about the unsuitability of giving a puppy as a gift this Christmas, advising that it is not the best time of year to introduce a puppy as a family pet.

Carmel Murray added: “Christmas is really not the best time to introduce a new puppy in the home. With shorter evenings and bad weather in December and January, coupled with the fact that there is extra activity around the festive season and children are back to school shortly after the arrival of a new puppy, means families don’t have sufficient time to bond with their new pet. We recommend during the summer months is a better time to introduce a new puppy in the home where there is plenty of time and longer evenings for training.”

The ISPCA is urging the public to make a donation to help animals at risk. Remember no amount is too small.

Or by lodging funds directly to the ISPCA’s account at AIB, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.  A/C #  12585-378, sort code 93-12-92.  Donations can be made by cheque, money order or postal order using Visa, Mastercard or Laser.  Alternatively please call the ISPCA on (043) 33 25035 or email  Members of the public can also purchase one of the ISPCA’s Christmas gifts for animals or thoughtful gifts which help to fund the care of some of Ireland's most abused animals all available on-line.

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