By Rose Barrett
A charity which has rescued thousands of injured and abandoned animals is facing closure as it struggles to operate with debts of more than €90,000.
My Lovely Horse Rescue, which was set up in 2011 originally to save neglected horses and donkeys, finds itself in serious financial jeopardy.
Co-founder Martina Kenny told the Dublin Gazette: “All our fundraising events were cancelled this year so we are in dire straits.
“We never closed our doors during the spread of the pandemic, but without our fundraisers, food bills are astronomical – hay and feed alone could reach €70,000 this year. That’s not including veterinary bills, which could run to €50,000.”
MLHR started out as a horse sanctuary but as its reputation for care and compassion grew so too did the list of animals needing saving. Now it takes in cats, dogs, goats and pigs as well as equine strays.
Martina said: “We’ve taken in 370 animals since March – and we opened a pig sanctuary. Then there are transport costs, shelter maintenance, heating, staff… only for our dedicated core volunteers, we would not be able to function or continue the level of animal care we provide.”
Martina, who founded the charity along with her sister Deborah and singer Cathy Davey, revealed that MLHR costs ran to around €400,000 last year.
She said: “Government support was €19,000 so the remainder was paid for by fundraising and we seriously need the support of the public now.”
Martina also revealed that recent cases of animals abandoned or neglected during the pandemic have been horrendous.
She said: “We responded to a report from gardaí of a yearling dumped on a small bog road. The poor creature would have starved, it couldn’t get into a field anywhere and when we brought it in, it had a bad case of worms.
“If untreated, worms are lethal and can actually kill a horse – it was so skinny and malnourished, it would have had a slow, horrible death.
“This happens all the time, it’s coming into winter and we are already so full.”
Martina also noted a huge spike in puppy breeding during the pandemic with buyers prepared to fork out up to €2,000 for mixed breeds.
She said: “Some were surrendered to MLHR because they grew too big. Discarded like an old toy, it’s disgraceful.”