Free Safe and Hound Dog Bite Prevention Program

Athlone Animal Welfare is offering primary schools the opportunity to avail of the Safe and Hound Dog Bite Prevention Program.

The program is innovative and interactive and best of all will be delivered FREE of CHARGE.

Statistics show that up to half of all children are bitten by a dog by the time they are 12 years old. Dog bites are considered to be a serious problem.

Most bites are by the family dog or other dog known to the child and can be prevented through education.

Through the program children learn to read dog body language and how to act safely around dogs. Unique is its use of several different teaching strategies, its focus on physical activity and its emphasis on positive messages.

Should your school be interested please get in contact as soon as possible as opportunities to avail of the program are limited.

Register your schools interest by emailing

TNR approach towards Feral Cats

In the month of November, Athlone Animal Welfare is raising awareness about often-neglected feral cats and the effective approach that can be taken towards them. According to stats published by Feral Cats Ireland during their feral cat awareness week in August, there are more than 200,000 stray cats in Ireland. More they breed, more difficult it becomes to feed or rehome them.

In order to have a better understanding of what needs to be done, it’s important to educate ourselves with authentic information. Feral cats are born to stray or abandoned cats. Since they’re born outside a proper home, they are not prone to much human interaction and therefore rehoming them is a challenge majority people don’t take on.

Even if feral cats are difficult to rehome, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our care and help. There are various proposed solutions to handle a feral cat, such as trap/tame, trap-kill and trap/rehome but all of them are not practical as feral cat is not easily tamed due to it’s wary nature and it may take months for it to get accustomed to a new home. It is especially difficult to confine it in one place for atleast four weeks. Killing feral cats is not only cruel and inhumane; it is highly impractical as well. Feral cats seeing this threat will be forced to flee out of fear and confine themselves in a colony and their breeding can speed up. Therefore it is rightly concluded that prevention is better. AAW being a pro-rescue and pro-life organization supports trap/neuter/return approach, which is practical and convenient. Upon encountering a feral cat, AAW suggest to trap it in a box and take it to the local vet for neutering and a general health check up. Usually the vets remove tip of their ear to mark them as neutered, but you can ask the vet to do so. After getting them neutered, you can take them back to the same location and release them where they can continue to roam freely and being fed by caring people around.

Athlone Animal Welfare also provides educational talks on animal welfare topics so incase you need to find out more about TNR approach, a talk on this topic can be arranged. This month, AAW in association with Athlone Tidy Towns will be visiting St Aloysius college to collect feral cat boxes made by their generous students. AAW can also provide trap cages if you are deciding to act on TNR approach for feral cats. In case you are thinking about getting a feral cat neutered, Glasson vets, Daniel Murray vets (Moate) and Midland vets (McGuires) are offering two feral cat spays/neuter for a flat fee of €20 each to the public. You can contact us on our email, website or facebook for more details.

Athlone Animal Welfare would like to remind every pet owner and animal carer, to get them neutered and spayed if you haven’t yet. Not only this will give them a better future, it can actually save their lives.


Carry An Animal Assistance Card

Your pet depends on you for constant care and protection. The thought of leaving them alone if you become ill, get in any kind of trouble or unable to tend to them for any unforeseeable reason is not only distressing for you, but it can put the entire future of your pet in jeopardy. It is wise to have a steady arrangement should any inevitable emergency comes in your way.

Athlone Animal Welfare has come up with a solution to prepare for this upsetting scenario. We are developing an Animal Assistance card that you can keep in your wallet, purse or somewhere visible in the house such as on the fridge door.  They will be available for free at your local vet’s clinic and pet shops in Athlone.

This wallet size card will contain your basic details, your pet’s name and type and details of two persons you nominate to take care of your pet. The purpose of this card is pretty basic; in the case you get in any kind of critical situation, keeping this card in your wallet at all times will make it easier for anyone who finds it to contact your trusted nominees and ensure your pet is in safe hands and being taken care of until you’re unable to.

We also suggest every dog owner register for Canine Care Cards at Dogs Trust. In case of any life threatening circumstances, these cards will prove to be a great assistance in ensuring safety of your dog and your peace of mind.

Help Protect Wildlife School competition

Gardening can be very therapeutic but it’s imperative we take our pets and wildlife into consideration, as some of our gardening practices can unintentionally harm them in the process. A tidy lawn can spark up the beauty of the entire house; therefore, Athlone Animal Welfare is proposing some suggestions that are both environment and wildlife friendly.

A little change in our gardening routine can make all the difference. For example, before strimming any grass, make checks for wild animals and their nests in the long grass. Especially look for hedgehogs because they can curl up in the grass making them harder to spot.

Another important thing to be wary of are slug pellets. It’s understandable that slugs and snails can pose a significant burden to a garden if you’re growing vegetables like cucumbers, lettuce etc, but before resorting instantaneously to slug pellets, it’s advisable to do your research. Firstly, these pellets are harmful not only for your pets and wildlife but also for children because it contains Metaldehyde. This chemical is so strong that it causes the body of slugs to dry out eventually leading it to die. There are however alternatives to be considered such as slug pellets with Ferramol as the active ingredient rather than Metaldehyde, as it’s not harmful to wildlife and children. There are some DIY hacks that can be used to keep slugs away such as making a slug barrier using broken eggshells or copper, beer traps etc.  Another thing to keep in mind before treating any weeds is the choice of your weed killer. Over applying or not diluting it enough can not only kill the surrounding birds and animals but it can also be hazardous to other plants as well. The most environmentally friendly option is the mixture of vinegar, Epson salts and Dawn dish soap.

There are many resourceful organisations working in aid of wildlife. Irish Wildlife Matters provides an excellent reference tool and portal to get any information regarding rescue and treatment of wild animals that one might encounter. Some animal welfares in Ireland are dedicatedly working in the rescue of vulnerable wild animals such as Animal Foundation in Kildare which not only provide ample information about handling of wildlife but also provide a home for them if needed. Similarly, The Hogsprickle in County Clare is earnestly providing all the resources in the aid of hedgehogs and other wildlife.

In the case of any queries about preventing harm to wildlife and the accurate treatment of injured wildlife, Athlone Animal Welfare can arrange a skilled wildlife rehabilitator to deliver talks on wildlife matters. This knowledgeable lady is a registered veterinary nurse, certified wildlife rehabilitator and animal behaviorist.

This months’ competition is offering a lucky reader the chance to secure a wildlife talk for a school class, youth group, tidy towns volunteers, compassionate group of friends etc. Simply email the following details to before 5pm July 31st.

Your name, the group you are nominating to receive the talk and the following code AAW-WS-WT.

Nicer to Nature Comp 2015

AAW ran a “Nicer to Nature” Art competition in conjunction with local primary schools just before Easter. The intent of this was to get children thinking about their environment and all within it, and how they could make it a better place.

We had a great response and loads of fantastic drawings were submitted. Its great to see such active imaginations out there and such an interest in our environment!!!

We had 4 categories and our judge had a very tough time choosing the winners but here they are:

Under 6                 Name                            School
1st                     Kaitlin Egan                   Glanduff NS
2nd                   Alana Cullen Walsh        Glanduff NS
3rd                    Connor Mc Loughlin      Clonown NS

Under 8
1st                     Emily Sheehan               Gael Scoil
2nd                   Marty Craven                 Glanduff NS
3rd                    Ellen Reynolds               ArdNaGrath NS

Under 10
1st                     Ciara Coyle                     Lismoyle NS
2nd                   Ben Keegan                    St. Clares NS
3rd                    Shona Neary                   ArdNaGrath NS

Under 12
1st                     Nuala Ann Commins      Glanduff NS
2nd                   Darren Finneran            Glanduff NS
3rd                    Jazmin Scally                 Glanduff NS

So WELL DONE and a big THANK YOU to all who participated and all the teachers who encouraged them!!!!

Also many thanks to Athlone Town Centre for letting us display all the entries there during Easter week.

Wild Animals in circuses Comp 2013

Athlone Community College were the winners of the 2012/2013 AWW competition on Wild Animals in Circuses.

Well done ladies! AAW would also like to thank the local businesses which sponsored the prizes incl a Memorial Plaque, individual trophies, and gift vouchers.