Animals in Need (AIN) was founded by a small group of like-minded people in Donegal Town

Donegal Organisation evolved into a hands-on voluntary group, rescuing and rehoming abandoned animals

All the foster homes are full at present

All the animal foster homes are full at present

Fourteen years ago, Animals in Need (AIN) was founded by a small group of like-minded people in Donegal Town who were individually making an effort to alleviate animal suffering. 

Initially, AIN became involved in fund-raising activities to help other animal welfare organisations. However, this was not sufficient to meet the needs of the animals of Donegal and the organisation evolved into a hands-on voluntary group, rescuing and rehoming abandoned animals.

Since 2006, the charity has grown organically and now saves animals from the whole County, mostly cats and dogs, but also roosters, wild birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, terrapins, seals and any other animal in need.

No-one working for the charity is paid and every cent that is collected goes directly into the care of the rescued animals.

The costs involved are overwhelming. In the last twelve months, the cost of running the organisation reached €104,415. However, the biggest challenge is the coordination of rescuing the animals, providing all necessary veterinary care, foster care, vaccinations, dealing with many cruelty cases and often seeking help for people who find themselves homeless or sick and consequently have to surrender their animals. 

This is particularly upsetting for everyone involved as often these people are parting with a much loved, loyal pet who may be their only friend.

AIN could not operate without the dedicated cat and dog fosterers operating behind the scenes. Volunteer Anne fosters many dogs and pups and regularly travels to the Dog Shelter to rescue unwanted dogs who then go on to find wonderful homes through the Dogs Trust and Collie Rescue in Dublin and the UK, so a huge thanks to Anne.

Thanks to AIN's driver Donal, who drives around the country at short notice to bring dogs to various sanctuaries in Dublin, Meath and to collect dogs from the Dog Shelter.

AIN would like to thank Gitte, who rescues cats and kittens who are often sick and nurses them back to health, often feeding orphaned kittens hourly throughout the night. Gitte is also responsible for fundraising activities and social media.


The charity could not financially continue without the funds raised in the AIN charity shops in Letterkenny and Donegal Town and would therefore like to say a big thank you to the managers of both shops, Pamela and Karla.

Thanks also to Mary and Joey in Letterkenny who have helped in numerous ways over the years and who are always willing  to help an animal in distress.

AIN would liked to say a big thank you to Dogs Trust who help with rehoming the rescued dogs, without which AIN could not save hundreds of dogs in Donegal annually.

Thanks also to the County Vet for his cooperation and for the wonderful work carried out in the Letterkenny Dog Shelter which has heated, refurbished new pens for the dogs. Garry, the Pound Keeper, cares for the dogs extremely well while they are in the shelter and the two dog wardens, Sammy and Jackie, are always helpful when called upon.

AIN has a fantastic veterinary team who are available at short notice and at all hours to care for many of the rescued, sick or injured animals, which is much appreciated.

None of this work would be possible without the support of the wonderful people of Donegal and beyond, who donate to the charity and offer support in various ways, thank you.

Due to the current restrictions, there has been no movement of animals or adoptions, meaning the foster homes are completely full at the moment, although AIN is still responding to emergencies where possible and operating the helplines to offer advice to the public.

Despite the situation, no dogs have been put down and the Letterkenny Pound is looking after the dogs in their care until such time that they can be collected for rehoming.

Elderly, blind dog Maisie is safe in foster care

If you should find a sick or injured animal, please contact AIN for advice on how you can care for them. Rescue work can continue if everyone works together.

To help AIN’s animals, please donate €2 to AIN’s ‘Help Us To Help Them’ fundraising appeal via your phone by texting the word ‘KITTEN’ to 50300. Every last cent goes directly to the rescued animals for their food, bedding, vet bills, worming treatment and vaccinations. 

For further information on adoption, fostering, volunteering etc, please contact the main helpline on 087 1356188. For cat/kitten enquiries please call 087 7644420. Animals In Need Donegal is also on Facebook and has a website at

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

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