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Westport hosts annual Music for Mutts concert


SAFE AT LAST  AJ, now called Buddy, was found malnourished, ill and shaking with fear.

The third annual Music For Mutts concert is taking place this Friday, November 9, in the Castlecourt Hotel, Westport, at 8pm.
This year’s show is in aid of Mayo Animal Welfare and the Northwest Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NWSPCA), and the line-up includes Atlantic Rhythm, Gráinne Fahy, Tomás Langan and The Garvey Brothers, Joanne Keegan, Conor Duffy and more.
Mayo Animal Welfare is based in Kilmeena and run by legendary advocate and charity worker Noeline Haylett and her team of hardworking volunteers. The organisation’s volunteers rescue and care for abandoned, cruelly treated and injured animals, both domestic and wild.  
The North West Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NWSPCA) was set up 15 years ago by a small group of women based in Ballina, mainly covering that area. However, due to demand, the organisation now covers all of Mayo, which places a big strain on the charity’s resources.
“As we are such a large county we are always stretched with our workload,” said NWSPCA spokesperson Dee O’Reilly. “Not a day goes by that we don’t receive lots of calls about cruelty and neglect, and animals being abandoned, surrendered, lost, found, stolen or injured.
“Our organisation is totally voluntary and everything that is donated goes towards the care of the animals. None of us who help out with NWSPCA gain anything financially, but we do gain tremendous fulfilment.”
The NWSPCA has two small charity shops, one in Ballina and the other one on Linenhall Street in Castlebar. These help to keep the organisation’s doors open. “We amass huge costs each year. Most of which are veterinary, as each animal that comes into our care has to be vaccinated, microchipped and neutered and its injuries treated,” said O’Reilly. “We are constantly fundraising looking for volunteers and fosterers, as we do not have a facility of own, which is on our bucket list.”
Similarly, Mayo Animal Welfare also faces massive ongoing bills, with costs including veterinary fees and food stuffs, and it too relies on the generosity of the public to continue its good work.

AJ’s story
Every year the NWSPCA takes in an average of around 1,000 dogs as well as roughly the same number of cats.
One of the latest cases to benefit from the organisation’s work is AJ, a beautiful Bulldog/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross that was found shaking uncontrollably under a bush in an elderly couple’s garden. It took hours of coaxing with food, but the couple finally managed to lead him into a shed and contact the NWSPCA.
“We have no idea of his background, as is often the case, but we can say that wherever he came from it must have been horrendous,” O’Reilly told The Mayo News. AJ’s skin was raw, and he bore scars on his head. It is thought that he may have been used for breeding but escaped.
“He was terrified and shaking, starved and had a very sore eye. We got him to the vet, and from there one of our kind fosterers took him in.”
This tale has a happy ending. AJ proved to be a gentle, quiet, mild-tempered soul, and the fosterers fell for him and just couldn’t let him go. They have decided to take him in forever, and this lucky-at-last dog is now happy in a home with five children and another dog, finally part of a loving family.
Mayo Animal Welfare and the NWSPCA have helped countless animals like AJ find new, happy lives in safe homes with good humans. If you’re looking for a good night out and a way to help these organisations keep on doing the wonderful work that they have been doing around the county, head along to the Castlecourt Hotel this Friday night; a great night of music for a great cause.

MORE See Music For Mutts on Facebook. Tickets, €10; spot prizes galore.