by Louise Doyle
CONSTRUCTION on the first ever animal rehabilitation centre in Donegal gets underway next week creating substantial employment locally, it has been confirmed.
Donegal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is behind the state-of-the-art facility in Barrack, Ramelton, with construction commencing on Wednesday, June 15. The building work is being undertaken by contractors, McMenamin Brothers, from Ballybofey.
The Animal Rehabilitation Centre, known affectionately as ‘the Arc’ will be a ‘life-saver’ for so many animals in the county.
Outlining the role of the volunteer-based facility, Kathleen Murray of Donegal SPCA told the Donegal News she hopes the centre will help address animal suffering throughout the county.
“This facility will house and rehabilitate all kinds of animals, it is not confined to one or two species, it is for helping all animals. The sick, injured and abused animals will all be treated by their local vets around Donegal first of all and then they will be brought to the Centre for recovery and rehabilitation.
“There are animals suffering alone, and in groups, all over this county, in back yards, sheds and in the open air with nobody to help them. They depend entirely on the good will of someone to report their suffering and bring it to light. The animal suffering most seen in this county. The animals who will mostly use the Arc will not be so easily seen by the public, but they certainly do, to our collective shame, exist.
“At the Arc we will help all animals as best we can within our present laws. We will be helping to ease suffering of all kinds, re-home the animals who make it through their ordeal and also aid in the re-homing of as many other animals as we can also. The Arc will create a great sense of community for all animal related groups and the general public, in the county. The knock on effect of this effort will spread out to many more animals than will ever see the inside of this building.
“We’re very excited about this and are currently working with Donegal County Council. The jobs this will bring to the local area will be substantial as there will be builders, ground workers and plumbers to name but a few on site.”
Continuing, Kathleen said that while Donegal SPCA were very fortunate to have had enough money to buy the land and build the premises, she warned that all funds in their possession-to-date will be used by the time the building is constructed and keys are handed over, adding that a series of fundraisers will be taking place in a bid to raise crucial cash to oversee the running of the centre.
She said the success of the Arc will “depend entirely” on public backing and encouraged people to attend a public meeting on Thursday, June 9, at 7pm in Station House Hotel, Letterkenny, to learn more about how they can get involved.
“We will just about break even. We need to do a lot of fundraising. The Arc will depend entirely on the public for money and volunteers. Furnishing this building will require donations from the public. It will be like furnishing a house for the first time, everything is needed from teaspoons to special equipment.
“It will be an incredible asset to our county if it is backed financially by the general public.
“If anyone would like to sponsor anything we will advertise their business on our website in return. Maintaining the building will cost a lot of money every year as well, and that will also have to be funded by the public. There are many ways to do this including sponsorship, donations, direct debits, legacies , and some physical work from organising and manning fundraising events. Support of these events would be greatly appreciated as that is what the animal’s lives will literally be depending on.”
A sponsored mud run fundraiser will take place on Saturday, June 25. Any participants wishing to take part are asked to contact Donegal SPCA for sponsor cards, or support people who have cards already. Cards are available at Liam Grier Design Studio, The Mall, Ramelton or Kelly’s Centra, Mountain Top, Letterkenny. A GoFundMe page has also been set up – www.gofundme/donegalspca
“We also have a re-homing register for people who have an animal to re-home or for people who are looking for a pet. The number to ring is 0866054943. As the dogs in the Dog Pound in Donegal are in need of good homes also we will be advertising photos of these dogs on our Facebook page and website. This alone will not guarantee homes, people need to go in there and take these dogs out,” added Kathleen.
You can keep up with the latest news via the group’s Facebook page, “Donegal SPCA Animal Rehabilitation Centre” or by visiting www.donegalspca.ie.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or press the “Volunteer Now” button on the website. People can donate through the website, Facebook page or directly into Donegal SPCA’s Bank Account 10595806 Ulster Bank, Ardara Branch.