In 2003 we finally succeeded in coming to a wonderful agreement with the director of the laboratory to embark on a pilot programme that should bring about an end to keeping dogs in Irish laboratories for the purpose of supplying blood products.
This is the first time that an Irish laboratory has agreed to release dogs for re-homing. Four dogs (3 black labradors and 1 beagle) were given to us to rehome. All dogs had been in the laboratory for many years and though they had socialised with each other and their carers, they were far from an 'ordinary' pet and needed special homes for the rest of their lives. While we looked for suitable homes for the dogs, the ISPCA kindly offered to care for the dogs at the new National Animal Centre in Longford for an interim period.
On arrival at the National Animal Centre, the staff were as excited as we were to walk the dogs on grass for the first time and see how they reacted to the outside world. We were extremely impressed with the Centre and felt great relief that the dogs were in good, trained hands at the start of their new lives.
We have since re-homed all four dogs to wonderful homes. They have all settled in well and we keep in touch with their owners monitoring their developments. All dogs seem perfectly stable and happy, as you can see from the pictures sent in to us by their new owners.
This enlightened move by the laboratory to release the dogs to us has come through the trust and good relationship that the IAVS has built up over the years and shows how progress and improvements for laboratory animals can be effected through meaningful dialogue.
It is a great privilege for us to be directly involved in saving the lives of laboratory animals who would otherwise have spent all their time, before being put down, confined behind bars.