Six pups had tails cut off in ‘cruel and unnecessary mutilation’
ISPCA warns removing tails is illegal and weakens dog’s ability to communicate properly
The puppies without tails were found when the ISPCA responded to a call from a concerned member of the public. Photograph: Hans Smits
Six pups which had their tails cut off were subjected to an ordeal of “cruel and unnecessary mutilation”, animal welfare inspectors have said.
The litter and a Jack Russell terrier were discovered in Leitrim by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) following a tip-off.
ISPCA inspector Karen Lyons said when she investigated the site where the dogs were being kept, she discovered they had their tails cut off and were living in unsuitable conditions.
“The removal of a puppy’s tail is not only illegal but it provides no benefit to a dog or puppy,” she said.
“It is just not acceptable to remove a puppy’s tail purely for cosmetic purposes.”
The once widespread practice of “docking” of tails of certain breeds of dog for cosmetic reasons was outlawed with the introduction of the Animal Health and Welfare Act five years ago.
Under the legislation, ISPCA inspectors were also handed powers similar to the gardaí for investigating suspected animal cruelty.
This includes the power to interview suspects under caution and take prosecutions, which on conviction can carry a maximum fine of €250,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years.
Offenders may also be banned from keeping animals for any period up to and including life.
Ms Lyons said docking pups is “a cruel and unnecessary mutilation” which leaves dogs without a protective mechanism which they use to communicate with one another and prevent aggressive encounters.
“Amputating their tail weakens a dog’s ability to communicate properly, leaving them vulnerable to be misunderstood by other dogs and also humans which places them at a social disadvantage,” she added.
The Jack Russell and six pups were taken to the ISPCA’s National Animal Centre in Co Longford where they are being cared for ahead of being rehomed.
The ISPCA said it is continuing its investigations into the incident.