Category Archives: Other

Why Puppies As Christmas Gifts Are A Bad Idea

Surprising your son, daughter, friend, or relative with a pet as a present may seem thoughtful, but it typically doesn’t end well for the cat, dog or other critter. Thousands of them are surrendered to animal shelters by March, some as soon as the first of the New Year simply because families or new owners weren’t prepared for the care and responsibility.

Here are a few reasons why giving pets as surprise Christmas gifts, or any kind of gift, is a bad idea.

Pets and Pet Owners need a Relationship

It’s pretty well known or accepted that the bond between pet and pet owner needs to be very strong and present right from the beginning. You can’t go out and pick just any dog or cat.

It is also tough to build that relationship during such a busy time of year. The surprise pet is already stressed at having been moved, of being introduced to a totally new environment from the pet store or family or shelter that he’s been used to, and really needs a quiet, calm environment. This quieter, calmer time is also necessary for pets and pet owners to establish a routine. With the chaos surrounding the whole holiday season, pets are often neglected.

Plus kids can be unreliable; kids change quickly. You know this! The puppy melts their hearts for a few days or weeks only. But then it needs to be walked every day (in the rain). It needs careful attention to its feeding and eliminating if it’s going to be housebroken effectively. It needs to be taught not to jump on people. The kids oohing and aahing under the tree will very soon move on to Facebook and texting their friends and ignoring the poor wee creature.

Pets Require Time, Money and Responsibility

Pets should not be surprise gifts because, particularly for new pet owners, some families are completely unprepared and overwhelmed by the care and expense that a new pet requires. Puppies and kittens especially, but adult dogs, too.

Typically, the larger the dog, the larger the expense for vet care and dog food and the bigger the clean-up both in-house and outside.

Everything that the animal needs to be properly cared for should be discussed and planned well in advance, including the kind and size of dog that best suits families’ individual home situations. Preparation includes realizing how decorations, foods and business at Christmas time can be frightening to animals.

Many parents don’t consider that 2 weeks later the kids are back to school and the puppy still needs walks and plenty of attention (or else it starts chewing things – all sorts of things!). Realistically, it will be YOU looking after this creature, if you think it will be looked after by the children once Christmas is over, you are fooling yourself.

Pet-friendly Alternatives

One alternative is to buy the pet supplies for Christmas and leave choosing the puppy or kitten or whatever, until after things have settled down. If they still want a puppy come the new year, and are willing to take responsibility for it, then maybe it is something that could happen for their birthday.

IPAAG reminds the public to beware of the pitfalls in responding to online ads for puppies

As Christmas approaches and the demand for puppies’ increases, the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group (IPAAG) is reminding potential buyers to beware of the pitfalls of responding to online advertisements for puppies and other pets to ensure that they ask the right questions to avoid falling victim to rogue breeders, who put profits before animal welfare.

In 2015, leading animal welfare organisations (ISPCA, Dogs Trust, IHWT, Donkey Sanctuary, Irish Blue Cross and MADRA) along with representatives from the veterinary profession and websites advertising pets for sale joined forces to develop a set of minimum standards for websites to help protect the welfare of animals that are advertised online and ensure that any illegal activity is identified and investigated.

IPAAG has been targeting unscrupulous breeders by reporting inappropriate online adverts in breach of the IPAAG minimum standards where they were acting illegally and compromising the welfare of innocent animals to make a quick profit.

Since its launch, IPAAG has used Google Ads to educate people searching for pets being advertised online.  As a result over one million impressions and 22,485 clicks to the IPAAG website was reached specifically targeting people who were looking to source a pet online, but may not be aware of the risks or how to protect themselves from unscrupulous breeders. This highlights that people do want advice prior to getting a puppy, however they may not have thought to seek it or known where to go prior to seeing the IPAAG advertisements.

IPAAG Chairman Dr Andrew Kelly said:  “We would always encourage prospective pet owners to consider adopting an animal from a reputable rescue organisation. However, we recognise that people will often turn to their computers when looking to buy or sell almost anything and whether we like it or not that includes pets. Animal welfare organisations regularly hear from people who have sourced a pet online only for it to fall sick and in some cases die soon after, which is awful for the animal concerned and heart breaking for the owners. Anyone looking to get a new pet should follow the IPAAG check list to avoid the pit falls of becoming a victim of unscrupulous breeders. Some websites, such as Done Deal are very cooperative, are complying with the minimum standards and do report adverts of concern to the appropriate authorities, but others are less cooperative. I would also like to remind people to never give a puppy or any other animal as a surprise gift at Christmas or any other time of the year.”

IPAAG is urging anyone thinking of getting a new pet to carefully research where your new pet has originated from and to be aware of unscrupulous breeders who are putting profits before animal welfare. Getting a pet on impulse poses an enormous risk and to avoid unintentionally obtaining a pet from a rogue breeder, it is also important that you consider the long term commitment and financial resources required before taking on a new addition to the family.

Following on from the success of PAAG in the UK and IPAAG in Ireland, Blue Cross have developed EU PAAG through the EU Dog and Cat Alliance ; that provides a template for other EU Member States to develop a PAAG of their own. As a result, BelgPAAG has been set up in Belgium and five other member states are in the process of setting up PAAGs.

IPAAG check list:

  • Have you considered adopting a pet from a local rescue centre first?
  • If you have decided to go online to source a pet, ensure the website has signed up to the IPAAG minimum advertising standards.  Visit for more information, tips and advice.
  • Different breeds have different requirements and temperaments. Research is important to ensure your new pet is suitable for your family and lifestyle.
  • If you have already completed your research, ask your vet to recommend a reputable breeder or contact the IKC (Irish Kennel Club) for advice if you are looking to get a pet.
  • Always ask to see mum and puppy interacting with each other and be concerned if you can’t.
  • Are the facilities clean and does the litter of puppies appear to be alert and healthy?  You should be able to handle the puppies freely under supervision.
  • Ensure any new pet is old enough to leave its mother – puppies need to be at least 8 weeks old.
  • Ask the breeder if they are registered under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010. If the answer is yes, ask to see the certificate issued by the Local Authority.
  • Microchipping is a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies once they are 12 weeks old. A puppy must be microchipped and the ownership transferred if applicable, even if this is before 12 weeks. It is very important that the change of ownership form is complete and the buyer must produce ID and proof of address to the seller.
  • Always ask for a copy of the veterinary records such as the vaccination certificate, microchipping details and treatment record for parasites. If you are unsure about it, speak to your local vet.
  • For pedigree puppies, check that the Irish Kennel Club registration papers and the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates, where appropriate, are in order.
  • If you suspect a puppy has come from a commercial breeding establishment, please don’t take it out of pity.  You may think you are saving a puppy but you will be fuelling the puppy farm trade demand.
  • If in doubt, walk away and visit a reputable rescue centre
  • Wild or exotic species have specific needs and are for specialists. Is it dangerous, wild, or even endangered? Check it will make a suitable pet.

Office Admin Required

The Louth SPCA is keen to find somebody to volunteer full-time or part-time as an office administrator. Things have gotten so busy at our kennels and out on the road that there is hardly anybody about to man the phones and take care of the day-to-day administration stuff.

This job may well suit somebody who has just retired or suddenly finds themselves with a lot of free time. You would mostly be taking phone messages at our base of operations to be relayed to our Inspector Fiona but there would be other tasks also. A full driving license would certainly be ideal.

If this sort of volunteer work sounds appealing please email with as much information about yourself as possible and why you feel you are up to the task. Include your phone number so we can get back to you in person.

Please also share this post with anyone who you think might like to help out. We may well finish up taking on several part-time admins rather than a full-time individual. If you are a student looking for some work experience over the summer, and would consider yourself reliable,  you are also welcome to apply!

The Problem with Petting Farms

A walk through the children’s section of any bookstore or library shows there’s no shortage of books about animals. They’re often seen as a favourite, with photos of cute baby animals awakening the curiosities of young children who are starting to learn and explore. Field trips to museums are used to help children learn about science and the arts, but when it comes to teaching children about animals, a different type of experience is usually involved.

You can find petting farms are everywhere, especially during the summer and fall months where weekend agendas are filled with fairs, festivals, and trips. Some exhibitors even allow their animals to be rented for parties and gatherings. Petting farms are marketed as a fun, hands-on family experience where children can pet, feed, and interact with a variety of animals. Ponies, sheep, goats, llamas, pigs, and even exotics animals can be found at these establishments. And of course, cameras are encouraged so you can take advantage of those photos ops.

This might seem like a fun and completely innocent way to teach children about animals, but is it providing a true educational experience? Not really. Plus lack of a true educational experience isn’t the only reason you should forego that trip to a petting farm. There are legitimate concerns connected to health, safety and general animal welfare.

Health and Safety Concerns

Any parent will tell you that germs are always a concern when you have children, but the worry goes beyond catching a virus from friends at the playground. Petting farms and other animal exhibits expose people to dangerous farmnotic diseases, including E. coli, a potentially life-threatening bacteria that can result in hospitalisation.

Safety is another concern with animal exhibits. A bear cub named Boo Boo in the US was almost put to death after innocently nibbling on the hands of students when he was brought to a university from a local petting farm. He was only doing what cubs naturally do, yet we choose to punish animals when we are the ones at fault by placing them in stressful, unnatural situations. Animals of all species can be unpredictable, causing a potential risk if a child is accidentally bitten or knocked over. And the animals themselves can become sick or seriously injured through mishandling or being fed species-inappropriate foods, causing unnecessary pain and suffering.

It’s No Fun for the Animals

Children naturally get excited when they see animals, but look at things from the animal’s perspective. Not only are you confined to a small area, you have countless numbers of people petting, hugging and poking you, usually while making a lot of noise. Wouldn’t you feel a bit scared and overwhelmed? Animals are no different than humans in their ability to experience stress and fear. Teaching children about animals should involve learning about animal behaviour and habitats, which is practically impossible to do in that type of environment.

Captive environments are inhumane because they prevent animals from being able to exhibit the same natural behaviours they would if they were roaming free, negatively affecting their mental well-being. The only thing you’re teaching children is that it’s okay to keep animals confined and unhappy for our enjoyment.

Even if animals seem to be receiving adequate care (which they rarely are), an astonishing number are subjected to neglect and cruelty. And those baby animal exhibits that are so popular? What happens when the cute babies grow up into adults, or to the adults when they become too old for the attraction? For places looking to maximise profits, these animals are likely sold for slaughter — and if they’re exotics, sold into the pet trade. There are plenty of ways to teach children about animals without contributing to the cycle of cruelty.

Teaching Children About Animals the Right Way

We should be teaching children about compassion, and to view animals as living, sentient beings. This can’t be taught through glass and wire enclosures. Reputable sanctuaries are one way to teach children about animals while viewing them in a more natural environment than the confinement of a cage. Legitimate sanctuaries rescue animals who have been mistreated, allowing you the opportunity to teach children about the importance of kindness toward other living beings. They will see animals as they should be: roaming, happy, and free from pain and suffering. If you want to teach children about animals the right way, check out these alternatives to visiting zoos and petting farms.

The Fallout

Louth SPCA are currently removing animals from such a petting farm in County Louth. Some of the animals removed require specialist care due to their species, and many are in need of urgent veterinary attention. Most of the animals recovered are underweight and malnourished due to the primary business going under and the petting farm being abandoned as a consequence.

You can see some of the animals rescued, learn more and donate towards their care if you wish, at

Win a hurling masterclass with DJ Carey for your club!

Cait, one of the Louth SPCA committee members, is organising a DJ Carey Hurling Masterclass competition to raise much needed funds.

How to enter

  1. Complete the competition entry form attached below.
  2. Clubs may submit as many competition entries as they wish. It should be indicated on the entry form how many entries are being made.
  3. Each individual entry is EUR100. If a club wishes to submit for example 3 entries, please indicate 3 entries on the form and submit a cheque for EUR300.
  4. Return the completed entry form along with the cheque (made payable to the Louth SPCA) to: June Naylor, Treasurer, Louth SPCA, “The Manse”, Dublin Road, Dundalk, Co Louth. Completed competition entry forms and cheques must be received by 5pm on Friday 13 July 2018.

Competition rules

  1. All GAA clubs on the island of Ireland are eligible to enter the competition.
  2. A club will be deemed to have entered the competition when the completed application form and cheque are received by Louth SPCA.
  3. The prize will consist of a 3-hour hurling masterclass with DJ Carey at a weekend date in August 2018, in the winning teams club grounds. The date and format are to be agreed between the winning club and DJ Carey when the winner is announced.
  4. The winner will be chosen at random and the winning club will be notified by phone on Friday 20 July 2018.
  5. Louth SPCA may take photographs at the masterclass which the winning club agree may be used on the Louth SPCA website and social media for promotional purposes.
  6. No other prize substitute is available.


For any queries on the competition, please contact Louth SPCA Committee member Cait Monagher by email on

Become a Louth SPCA Volunteer

We are constantly in need of volunteers and foster carers – to help out at our shelter, to assist in rehoming an animal, maybe fostering an animal while waiting for a good home, and to run and support fundraising events. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us and let us know.

Please either

Phone: 042 9335045

and leave a detailed message and your phone number, or


with as much information as possible about yourself and your availability.

Don’t have the time to give? Please consider one of the following other ways to hep our cause:

  • Become an associate member of the society. This involves paying a small annual fee by post.
  • Make a small monthly donation by Standing Order.
  • Make a once off (or monthly) online donation via Paypal.

You will find details of all of the above throughout the site!

The Benefits of Bird Ownership

Intelligent and beautiful, companion birds bring many benefits to their owners. Some of these advantages might surprise you.

Until you’ve lived with a companion bird, it’s hard to imagine how much birds add to the home with their cheerful, inquisitive natures. Keeping them healthy and happy is a lot of work, for sure, but they reward your efforts in so many wonderful ways.

Long Lifespan

Most companion birds have fairly long life-spans, as compared to other pets. This means that you won’t need to deal with the grief of losing your friend to old age, after just a few years, as you would with a Guinea pig or a rat or a large dog.

Pet birds provide life-long companionship. In fact, many of the parrot species can outlive you. That brings its own challenges, of course, because you’ll need to make arrangements for the animal.

Social Interaction

Recent studies have shown that keeping birds encourages social interaction, which is good for your mental health. It’s very cheering to hear your pets greet you with a hearty “Hi, guys! Hello, hello!” when you come home from work each evening.

On the one hand, there is the interaction with other pet owners, such as the people on the bird forums or at your local pigeon club.

And on the other hand, there is the interaction with your birds, themselves.

It can be pretty shocking the first time you hear a parrot construct a sentence to explain something, talking around a concept that he doesn’t know the word for. That’s the moment when you know for sure that you’re talking with your pet, and not just to him.


There is a basic “need” to nurture and take care of someone. It used to be that older children would help to take care of their younger siblings, and that most people would have children of their own once they reached their late teens of twenties. It’s more common to be an only child now, and increasingly common to be childless as an adult.

Pets fill the need to nurture someone. Pet birds are particularly good for this, because they require such a lot of personal attention and interaction with you, in order to be healthy.


Any pet encourages empathy in children. A pet that you can really talk to, and who clearly understands what you are feeling, makes it even easier to learn to understand someone else’s thoughts and feelings.

Lower Stress

Playing with and talking to a pet will lower your levels of stress, and it will also lower your blood pressure. That’s good for your health. What could be more relaxing than scritching your conures while they sit on you as you go about your household activities or cuddling your cockatoo while the two of you lounge on the couch?

Petting an animal has been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Just remember to pet against the lay of the feathers, to avoid raising your bird’s stress levels. They don’t generally like to have their feathers smoothed with stroking. Scritch against the grain.

Keep Your Mind Sharp

As you get older, you might start slowing down and not learning as much. That can put you at risk of early dementia. The phrase “use it or lose it” applies to your brain as much as anything else. Teaching tricks to your bird, of any species, keeps your mind sharp as well as entertaining your feathered friend. This brain exercise is better than medication in promoting healthy cognitive functioning.

No cats please!

Louth SPCA  can not accept any cats or kittens at our kennels for at least a month. A set of kittens we took in recently had a virus and it affected all other cats in our care. Unfortunately most died.

We have been advised by the vet not take any for now. Thank you for your understanding.

If people would take more care and neuter their pets this would also be of great help!