Public consultation opens for dog breeding guidelines

DSPCA chief warns of ‘deceit and fraud’ in puppy farm sector

Members of the public are invited to have their say on the Government’s proposal to improve and update dog breeding establishment guidelines in Ireland.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Members of the public are invited to have their say on the Government’s proposal to improve and update dog breeding establishment guidelines in Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

Over the next three months the public can have their say on the Government’s proposal to improve and update dog breeding establishment guidelines in Ireland.

Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) chief executive Brian Gillen welcomed any improvements to the current rules but warned that the proposal did not go far enough to protect dogs.

The key changes in the Government’s revised draft guidelines include larger kennels and exercise areas, stricter hygiene procedures, and specific staff requirements and training.

The public are welcome to make submissions or comments on the issue from Thursday, December 1st until February 28th.

Mr Gillen said some puppy farms could have up to 500 bitches while the welfare community believed dogs were not farm animals.

“There is a total of 78 registered farms. In terms of ones with more than 100, that’s roughly 50 per cent of them. These are large scale commercial operations,” he said.

“They should be bred in small numbers, they do best in a home environment where they’re socialised.”

“It’s not just us saying this, there is scientific research from Newcastle University. We believe there should be a cap of a maximum of 10 breeding bitches.”

He said while “any improvement” was good, there would be difficulties in enforcing the guidelines.

“There’s talk in the regulations about socialisation. Unless somebody is there watching this sort of thing or proper record keeping, that’s very difficult to enforce,” Mr Gillen told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t have people calling to the DSPCA with animals that are very ill or have long term genetic ailments because of the way they’re bred. We’ve had 19 different seizures in the port this year, a lot of sick animals coming from the farms.

“There’s a lot of deceit and fraud coming from the puppy farm sector. We’d like to see more openness, let’s put an end to this.”

Minister for Community and Local Government Simon Coveney said the public consultation process was “very important”.

Mr Coveney said people could make written submissions or comments by email to dbeguidelinesreview@housing.gov.ie or by post to: Dog Control Unit, Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Government Buildings, Ballina, Co Mayo F26 E8N6.

Full details on the proposal here http://www.housing.gov.ie/review-dog-breeding-establishments