Sarsfield Credit Union are thrilled to choose Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) who celebrate 40 years as their charity partner for 2023! Pictured are Brid Duhan and Annette O’Carroll, LAW volunteers, Mary Tuohy, Co-director Limerick Animal Welfare and Patrick Flaherty, Sarsfield Credit Union. Picture: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick
Celebrating 40 years, Limerick Animal Welfare has saved thousands of Ireland’s animals and needs your help to continue its amazing work
Founded in 1983, Limerick Animal Welfare has seen thousands of unwanted and neglected animals pass through its doors on their way to ‘forever homes’, and requires support from the public to continue supporting animals in need beyond this 40th anniversary.
Currently, LAW depends on volunteers as well as some core staff as Sanctuary Manager, Marie O’Connor, explains it would be very difficult to just rely on volunteers as the operation requires dedication.
“We do have our regular volunteers who come and help, and we do really appreciate them. But we have the core staff, they are essential to looking after the animals, it’s very important to have the right staff because you’re dealing with sick animals, you have to know how to treat them correctly, follow-up, handover. So it’s very important everyone is communicating what they are seeing, everything is communicated to everybody and written down,” she told I Love Limerick.
Finding the perfect staff in such a situation can be tough, but the LAW spokesperson described it as “a vocation more than a job” explaining, “It’s not a well-paid job, so you really have to love the animals, and they really do.”
Having a core paid-staff and its sanctuary has not come cheap as Marie explains the monthly cost of running LAW is between 80,000 to 85,000 with donations currently reaching up to just 45,000 and like everybody else, they are feeling the impact of inflation:
“The costs have increased over the years because the veterinary costs have increased hugely. The costs of operations, say you have a dog with a broken leg that needs to be pinned, you’re talking two to three thousand Euros, so vet costs in general, medicines, vaccinations for all the dogs, cats, horses, and rabbits.
“The electricity cost has doubled as it has for everybody, but our electricity used to be about a thousand per month, now it’s up to two thousand. Our insurance used to be about 10,000 and is now between 30 to 40 thousand, so the costs are huge.”
Speaking about the best ways to support the charity, she acknowledges fundraising efforts and donations are a key part, as they are in most charity services, but notes the impact social media and being given platforms to tell their story has had:
“It’s very important that we become a household name as such, because when people are thinking about where they’d like to donate their money, they can see what we do everyday. We like to put things up on social media everyday to show what’s happening at the sanctuary so people can feel involved.”
Patrick Flaherty from Sarsfield Credit Union told I Love Limerick it is important to support groups such as Limerick Animal Welfare because it helps highlight smaller organisations which might not get the “exposure they need”.
“We started this initiative in 2017, it’s important for us because they’re smaller organisations, they don’t get the profile that some of the larger organisations get and charities, so we found that this is a really important way of getting their voice out”
Mr Flaherty explained similar to how Limerick Animal Welfare gives animals “a voice”, Sarsfield Credit Union tries to do the same for smaller charities.
“It’s important for us to be able to showcase smaller charities that do fantastic work throughout the length and breadth of Limerick City and County.”
He explained it is important for them too as it’s “our members that vote to make these charities our partner in a particular year, and Limerick Animal Welfare being that partner in 2023 is fantastic.”
LAW has seen much support through its social media platforms where it updates followers on the progress made by animals, many sad stories but also a lot of success.
She said, “There are heartbreaking stories there, but that’s the other side, there are fantastic people out there that want to adopt, they come and want to rescue an animal whether it’s a cat, a dog, or horse, and they do send us updates on their animal.
“It’s lovely to see, and even though our rehoming policy is an indoor dog, such as dogs not being left out in pens, they have to have a secure garden, there are lots of people with that in place and they have lovely stories coming back.”
Marie pointed to the success story of Max, a German Shephard who LAW rehomed having taking him into care when he was severely underweight:
“He was like a skeleton, but he has his own Facebook page now and he’s doing absolutely great. So the ones that were really, really bad that come around full circle, it’s very rewarding to see that happening.”