A local animal rights campaigner has welcomed news the Government is mulling over proposals to impose stricter regulations on the sale of puppies online, as well as capping the number of breeding bitches allowed by dog breeding establishments.
The change is being driven by Minister of State for Community and Rural Development Seán Canney, who is reported to have begun talks with officials from the Department of Agriculture to address and even change laws governing such practices.
The Minister of State pointed out that current guidelines state only that a puppy can't be permanently removed from its mother before six weeks, but it does not cover the sale of animals.
“It's good to see Minister Canney motivated to address capping the number of breeding bitches in dog breeding establishments.
“This is long overdue and has been welcomed by rescues across the country,” says Carrigallen campaigner Sue Kilbracken.
Ms Kilbracken, who has in the past protested in relation to the County Council's monitoring of dog breeding establishments in Co Cavan, also called for the government to examine introducing legislation on how dog pounds are operated.
Last year in the space of four-months alone, ISPCA dealt with three separate incidents connected to DBE's in Ireland.
In May 2018, 27 puppies were found in Scotland in a van that originated in Ireland; followed by the discovery of 16 puppies in a horse trailer in Galway in July 2018. In August 2018, over 100 dogs were rescued by the ISPCA.
Ms Kilbracken has further asked that the Government consider divvying some of the funding it allocates to the Irish Greyhound Board, €16 million in 2018, compared with the estimated amount, a little over €2.75m, that gets distributed between the 108 animal rescue centres located across the country.
“Dogs and puppies are currently treated by the law as though they are agricultural animals. They are not. They are sentient beings and companion animals, not bred to end up on a dinner plate. As the Minister says, they are being taken from their mothers too young and sold for profit.
“The puppy farmer doesn't give a damn whether the puppies are socialised or healthy. As a result, people often find themselves with a puppy that becomes ill shortly after purchase, or has serious genetic conditions which lead to huge vet bills. No point going back to the 'breeder', who may have already changed their mobile number and will probably have arranged to hand the puppy over far from their premises.”