Established in Bray on the 6th of December 1910, out of a desire to protect the interests of agricultural and domestic animals in the Wicklow area, The Wicklow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has since grown to become one of Ireland’s largest not-for-profit charitable animal organisations.

The society now dedicates itself to the protection of all animals and the enhancement of their quality of life. It is governed by a management committee and constitution and operates under the registration numbers CHY11863 and CRA20033552 with the Charities Regulatory Authority.

In its early years, the society was steered by notable Wicklow residents including Lady Hobson and Lord Wicklow, and overcame many challenges including the Second World War condition of not being allowed to hold meetings, the loss of the society’s only vehicle in 1955 and the lack of suitable premises until 1979.

In spite of these tests, the society persisted and became one of the founding members of the ISPCA in 1949 and the first in Ireland to employ a dog control officer, training most of Ireland’s dog wardens thereafter.

Since 1990, the society has operated from a purpose-built facility called Sharpeshill Animal Sanctuary. The facility was made possible as a result of a large bequest from Mr. Reginald Sharpe, a Greystones man who donated the money because of a stray three-legged terrier who wandered into his home years earlier.

Mr. Sharpe received such joy and affection from his three legged friend that he bequeathed his entire estate to the welfare and protection of animals in Wicklow. As a reminder of his generosity and of the three-legged dog who has saved so many animals in Wicklow, a weathervane of the terrier resides over the administration building at Sharpeshill.