The Animals In Need (AIN) Donegal volunteers were called out to rescue a dog from a life of shocking cruelty at the weekend.

The dog, Paudi (main photo), had been spotted straying and concerned locals contacted AIN's helpline.

When an AIN volunteer went to collect him she was horrified by this poor dog's condition.

He had cropped ears, was covered in scars, had a skinned tail and a skin condition, an ear infection and was so emaciated it was painful for him to sit down.

But for the kindness of strangers, Paudi's misery would have continued.

Thankfully he is now settled safely in an AIN foster home where he is being kept warm and receiving the care he needs.

He is traumatised and very weak from malnutrition but with time he should eventually recover.

AIN also took in 7 dogs surrendered by their owners this week, including 2 ex-racing greyhounds.

The AIN volunteers were also extremely busy rescuing cats and kittens from around the county.

A tiny 5 week old ginger kitten, now called Sparrow, was found outside Pulse nightclub in Letterkenny by a young woman on Saturday night.

5- week-old Sparrow

She took him into work with her and thankfully her employers were understanding and gave her time to contact a friend to collect the kitten and to spend half an hour trying to clean his badly infected eyes.

Sparrow had a bad dose of flu and was also dehydrated and emaciated when he was found and he was taken into AIN foster care the next day.

When he is strong enough, Sparrow will need to have his ruptured eye removed but he is currently getting plenty of TLC.

Thank you to Aislinn for saving his life.

Another kitten was found in a car engine in Letterkenny on Friday last.  A kind passerby took the kitten in and rang AIN for help as the kitten is only 6 weeks old thus far too young to fend for himself on the the streets.

Some cats are obviously very canny and a male unneutered cat seemed to have a plan when he walked into AIN's charity shop in Letterkenny and made himself comfortable.  The cat has a slight infection but is otherwise in fair condition.

Also in Letterkenny this week, a heavily pregnant cat had turned up in the area but as no-one recognised her she was taken into foster care.  She has since given birth to 3 healthy kittens.

Earlier in the week, a call came in about Saoirse, a kitten who was stuck in a closed down shop in Stranorlar.  There then ensued much to-ing and fro-ing in an attempt to gain entry to the premises which was in receivership.

Saoirse was locked inside a closed down shop

The Receivers were traced to Galway and after 4 days the key to the premises finally arrived by registered post and Saoirse could be rescued at last.

Thanks to a volunteer from a local rescue, Twin Towns Lost and Found Dogs, who visited the kitten several times a day to slide food and water through a small gap by the door, Saoirse was still alive.

She is a friendly kitten and must have been a pet, so if this tabby girl could be your missing kitten, please contact the cat helpline.

On top of this hectic rescue schedule, the AIN volunteers are currently carrying out a Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) programme at a colony of feral cats in Bundoran and 7 foster cats found permanent homes.

AIN also had a more unusual new arrival this week, when a Yellow-Bellied Slider Turtle was found in Lough Melvin.

This type of turtle has a lifespan of up to 40 years and is classified as an invasive species and a danger to the Irish eco system.

How he turned up in Lough Melvin nobody knows, but he will be found an experienced home.

Finally, AIN's Letterkenny Charity Shop is currently appealing for donations of bric-a-brac and small items of furniture, so if you're having a clear out, please keep AIN in mind for any unwanted items.

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 http://www.animalsinneeddonegal.com.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.