Animal coordinator Rita Moloney A.N.C.A.B is well known to the Irish Film industry as is head Animal Trainer, Mary Owens K.C.A.I. Mary Owens is an English Kennel Club Advanced Accredited Instructor (KCAI) and is Irish Associate of the Northern Centre for Animal Behaviour U.K., (ANCAB).


How it all began

Mary’s first border collie “Tansy” was the studio dog for Ireland’s national broadcasting company, R.T.E.’s “Youngline”. Rita’s rescue collie cross “Zaffle” was chosen for a “Murphys Stout” commercial filmed beside the river Liffey at the Ferryman pub. As a direct result of this advert “Zaffle” went on to play the part of Paddy Clarke’s dog “Snaffles” in the R.T.E series “Fair City” for many years. Rita’s cat “Alexis” played Mary O’Hanlon’s cat “Princess” in this very successful long running soap. Fircroft animals continue to be used by R.T.E. to this day. BBC’s highly acclaimed “Ballykissangel” used Fircroft Kennels to supply and handle the majority of animals for this series working with Dervla Kirwan, Tony Doyle, Birdie Sweeney and Colin Farrell.

Mary and Rita have been training and handling animals directly for some of the top film production companies – Dreamworks, Paramount, Hallmark, Miramax etc. Such the high standard they set themselves Mary and Rita will never promise to “deliver on set” unless they are fully confident of doing so. They have worked with many of the world’s  great directors, Steven Spielberg, Stephen Frears, Ron Howard, Mel Gibson, John Boorman and Ireland’s’ acclaimed Neil Jordan, Lenny Abrahamson and up and coming director Lisa Mulcahy.  

Mary and Rita say – “it can be fun, it can be hard work and it can be a challenge but we love it“.