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Last Updated: Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 12:37

Campaign to support abandoned dogs begins

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A campaign to encourage adoption of unwanted dogs and raise funds for rescue centres was unveiled today.

Irish rugby star Gordon D'arcy has teamed up with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and petfood manufacturer Pedigree to front the campaign, which is aiming to raise awareness of the plight of stray and abandoned dogs in Ireland. 

In 2007, 15,587 dogs were surrendered, with only 8,721 rehomed. An average of 67 dogs are abandoned each day in Ireland, with 43 dogs put to sleep every day, according to statistics from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. 

The Pedigree Adoption Drive, which runs until the end of March, will donate money from the sales of Pedigree products to rescue shelters around the country. 

"The money raised in 2008 went a long way for us, and other animal rescue centres nationwide, to re-home hundreds of dogs throughout the country. With thousands more needing our help again this year, the Pedigree Adoption Drive gives hope to so many abandoned and homeless dogs and raises awareness of responsible dog ownership,” said chief executive of the Irish Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) Mark Beazley said 

Last year, the campaign raised €100,000, and is hoping to match that amount in 2009. 

Those who cannot adopt a dog are being encouraged to pledge their support to the scheme by signing up on the website.

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