Puppy farm case: Woman loses appeal over closure after judge says he finds vets’ evidence ‘compelling’

Council vets told the court how they found dogs with no water or proper bedding in many instances while there was no heating on the coldest day of the year

A puppy farm owner, who had dogs worth over €80,000 seized by Cork County Council, has failed in her appeal against a closure order issued by the council after they found the woman had breached her license and kept more dogs than she was entitled to keep.

Anna Broderick had appealed the closure order issued by Cork County Council on January 3rd last in relation to her puppy farm at The Hermitage, Ballyandrew, Doneraile, Co Cork after council veterinary inspectors had found the establishment “posed a serious and immediate threat to animal welfare.”

On Wednesday at Mallow District Court, Judge Colm Roberts dismissed Ms Broderick’s appeal and affirmed the closure order after hearing evidence from five witnesses for the council and seven witnesses for Ms Broderick spread over several days this week as well as earlier in the year.

Judge Roberts said that he found the evidence of Cork County Council Veterinary Inspectors, Carol Nolan and Edmund O’Sullivan and independent vets, Kevin Webster and Mairead Wallace Pigott and Emma Carroll of the ISPCA to be compelling.


He said that he found the evidence of seven witnesses including four vets as well as Ms Broderick herself to be “helpful and informative but it did not undermine or rebut the evidence of the respondents” and so he was dismissing the appeal and affirming the closure order.

Judge Roberts had heard evidence from the council vets that they had inspected the puppy farm on October 6th and October 14th 2022 where they found that Ms Broderick had 81 breeding bitches even though at the time she was only registered to have 50 and some 240 dogs in total.

They told how they found dogs with no water or proper bedding in many instances while there was no heating on the coldest day of the year when temperatures dropped to under 1 degree Celsius and they found one dog eating its own faeces which was indicative of malnourishment.

Independent vet, Ms Wallace Pigott, who examined 71 dogs removed from the puppy farm in January and February 2023, said she found 23 of 24 dogs removed in February stank of urine and had coats matted with dried faeces suggesting they were left lying in their own urine and faeces.

Ms Broderick rejected the evidence of Ms Wallace Pigott that the dogs she examined on February 2nd were in poor shape with eye, ear and teeth issues as well as smelling of urine and with coats matted with faeces which indicated they were not properly cared for.

“That’s a complete exaggeration (to say their coats stank and were matted with faeces), I never mistreated any dogs – I checked the dogs on January 31st and there was no dog that wasn’t groomed as I recall,” Ms Broderick told Cork County Council’s barrister Donnchadh McCarthy BL.

Ms Broderick said she first set up a dog breeding establishment in 2016 and it was very successful, and she was running it without any issues with sales initially coming solely by word of mouth but in more recent years she had advertised online.

However, around 2018 she was contacted by another dog breeder looking to sources pups for export to Singapore and after she supplied him with some dogs, she looked at exporting directly to Singapore herself with the dogs being shipped in crates from Dublin Airport via Doha to Singapore.

She bought in around 100 pups to export, not to breed, but she ran into difficulties as she was the last breeder to get into the export business and could not secure any cargo handlers to ship the dogs to Singapore after Covid as they all had their own customers already to whom they gave priority.

The result was there was a delay in shipping of the pups and once they turned six months, they were too big to send to Singapore, so she ended up exceeding her quota of 50 bitches.

She said that on October 6th 2022, when she was visited by Cork County Council Veterinary Inspectors, Carol Nolan and Edmund O’Sullivan, she had some 61 breeding bitches, 21 stud dogs to breed with them and 148 pups including the 100 she had bought in for export.

Mr McCarthy said the council were not seeking full costs in the case but were applying for costs of €5,000 and Mr Leahy confirmed that this acceptable to his client and Judge Roberts made an order that Ms Broderick pay the council costs in the sum of €5,000.

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Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times