Puppy farming, animal cruelty conviction in Donegal

ISPCA raided a puppy farm in Co Carlow last week.

The conditions were described as “absolutely horrendous”, with ISPCA Inspectors seizing 52 dogs of mixed breed and type. There were also dead animals scattered around the site. The rescued animals were transported to the ISPCA National Animal Centre in Longford where they received much-needed veterinary attention. Shortly after the raid, a closure notice was served on the premises and the remaining 250 dogs removed and cared for by the ISPCA and Dogs Trust, who worked together on this challenging situation.

Puppy Farming in Ireland

It’s only five years since Ireland introduced the “puppy farm legislation” in the form of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act and this puppy farm was actually registered.

So what went wrong? Under the current rules, owners of dog breeding establishments are given notice of several weeks before an inspection by the local authority vet. In some ways, this may seem fair, but in practice,it meant that the situation on the ground could be tweaked to comply with animal welfare regulations at the time of the inspection. After that, standards could be dropped, with more breeding animals being moved in, and less care given to them all.

The ISPCA is now calling on the government to introduce the introduction of random, unannounced spot checks of all puppy farms, as soon as possible.

The BBC documentary titled “The Dog Factory”

This showed secretly filmed footage of Furnish Kennels in Fivemiletown, in County Fermanagh, the largest licensed dog breeding establishment in the UK. Breeding dogs and puppies were kept in battery-hen type conditions, with food dispensed by automatic feeders and minimal human contact.

With our knowledge of the importance of socialisation and caring for puppies in creating a healthy, well-behaved adult dog, this type of situation should just not be allowed. Solicitors for the kennels claim that the premises are compliant with the law, and the local authority apparently agrees with this statement too, so perhaps the UK authorities need to look at their legislation to try to understand how this can be.

First successful prosecution under Ireland’s new Animal Health and Welfare Act.

A Donegal woman was prosecuted after abandoning her dog with no food or water. This may not sound a huge landmark case, but the significance is that it is the first successful prosecution under Ireland’s new Animal Health and Welfare Act. 2013 which came into force in March 2014. The offence took place on March 12 2014 and it has taken a year to reach the courts.

This is a very big deal in the animal welfare world. Under the old Irish animal welfare legislation (which had not been updated since the Protection of Animals Act 1911) this woman could not have been prosecuted because the dog was not emaciated or in actual pain. The new legislation gives owners a duty to care for their animal, so that even if they do not actually inflict physical injury on their pet, the simple fact that they are not providing for their pet correctly is a crime in itself.

You are now obliged to provide the five freedoms for animals under your care – freedom from hunger/thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain/illness/suffering, freedom to behave normally and freedom from fear/distress.
Expect many more convictions like this – they are in the pipeline.

Many congratulations to the ISPCA – this is what they work so hard to achieve.

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