Board-level hunter influence and allegations of mismanagement afflict the 143-year-old Cork SPCA
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:
CORK, Ireland––The Cork SPCA, one of the oldest in
Ireland, has thanked the pro-hunting Irish Working Terrier Federation
for an August 2013 donation of dog food, and apologized to the
federation for deleting a public thanks on Facebook.
“Unfortunately the post thanking the federation had to be
withdrawn after concerted pressure from a vocal ‘Anti’ minority (the
Irish Taliban),” recounted the Irish Working Terrier Federation web
Founded in 1870, “The Cork SPCA is not affiliated with the
Irish SPCA,” clarified the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
newsletter Animal Voice. The Irish SPCA Policy on Wild Animals states
that it is, ‘in principle, opposed to the taking or killing of wild
animals, or the infliction of any suffering on them. This includes the
hunting, taking and killing of wild animals for the purposes of
sport…The Society opposes foxhunting, live hare coursing, stag
hunting, and otter hunting. The Society particularly opposes ‘sports’
which involve the blocking of earths or the digging out of animals who
have gone to ground.’”
“Two governing committee members of the Cork SPCA are fox and
mink hunting enthusiasts,” the Cork Evening Echo revealed on June 26,
2012. “Committee member Brian McDonagh and public relations officer
Chris Connolly used to also go otter hunting before it became illegal in
1990. McDonagh still goes fox hunting with beagles and hounds, and mink
hunting with hounds.”
“I am interested in working dogs and that is how I got
involved in the Cork SPCA,” said McDonagh.
“I had to give up hunting five years ago for health reasons
but I am proud of my past. I hunted for 30 years and used to keep hounds
in my garden where I had 70 kennels,” said Connolly.
The Cork Evening Echo exposed the hunting connection on the same
day that the Irish Examiner reported that the Cork County Veterinary
Department had given the Cork SPCA three months to make significant
changes in almost every aspect of operations.
Housing animals impounded by Cork animal control, the Cork SPCA
was found by April and June 2012 inspections to have “a number of
deficiencies in relation to the Control of Dogs Act,” the Irish
The required changes included appointing an executive director,
developing a building management and improvement plan, clarifying the
roles of board members with regard to staff management, producing
procedural manuals for staff, and developing plans for fundraising,
financial management, managing communications, doing public education,
and recruiting volunteers.
The Cork SPCA web site and Facebook page as of December 2013
showed some use of volunteers in making physical improvements to the
kennels since June 2012, but make no mention of administrative changes
and omitted any identification of board members and management.
The Friends of Animals in the Cork SPCA Facebook page meanwhile
indicated that many of the required changes have not been made.
Control of Dogs Act statistics released in mid-2013 showed that
of 107 dogs who died from “natural causes” in the 34 Irish shelters
inspected under the act, 49 died at the Cork SPCA.