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Councillor blocks grants for animal charities


Anton McNulty

A DECISION to donate grants to a number of animal charities has been deferred to allow councillors to get more information on the organisations.
The Veterinary Department of Mayo County Council had recommended that councillors agree to donate €38,000 in grants to nine animal charities approved by the Council.
John Condon, a director of services with Mayo County Council, explained at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council that all of these organisations provide assistance to the Veterinary Department in ensuring that animal-welfare issues are dealt with.
However, concerns were raised regarding the number of animal charities to benefit, with Cllr Patsy O’Brien saying there seems to be a lot of ‘splinter groups’. He said there seemed to be a lack of adequate information on the charities and he called for more transparency.

Knockmore-based councillor Seamus Weir called for an increase in funding for the North West SPCA who were donated a grant of €11,250, and he questioned a €10,000 grant for MADRA (Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption), which he said is not a Mayo organisation.
“The North West SPCA has stood by this Council and I would ask for its grant to be increased by €3,000 and taken from MADRA. They are an outside organisation from Galway, and I have been told that any animals that go to MADRA, their vet expenses come from this council,” he said.
His proposal was second by Cllr Jarlath Munnelly, who said the NWSPCA grant was being cut when compared to last year’s allocation. He asked that councillors be given more information about all the various animal organisations’ work and where they are based.
For over a decade, Connemara-based rescue charity MADRA has been taking in stray, unwanted, neglected, abused and abandoned dogs from Mayo and Galway and finding them homes. It regularly visits both Mayo and Galway pounds, rescuing dogs that would otherwise be put to sleep after just five days if no one claims them.
In Mayo, the charity had reduced the put-to-sleep rate down to 11 percent by 2013 – a drop of almost 70 percent from five years previously. In the past four years, it has taken in 3,068 Mayo and Galway dogs.
Mr Condon told the councillors that all of the organisations operate in Mayo as well as other counties, and all – including MADRA – provide a valuable service in Mayo.
“MADRA is a service that rehomes dogs for us. Most of the dogs we impound are now rehomed when ten years ago most of them were destroyed. We don’t have the where with all to do that [rehome dogs], they do that for us,” he said.
Cllr Frank Durcan proposed adjourning the issue until the next meeting in January to allow the councillors get information on who all the organisations are and what they do. Mr Condon said there was no deadline to making the payments, and it was agreed to adjourn the final decision until the next meeting.

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