The Dog Breeding Establishments Act is not working and, consequently, there is absolutely scandalous treatment of dogs, very particularly of puppies in the so-called puppy farms, and I want to highlight a number of concerns in this regard.
There is no upward limit on the number of breeding bitches on a puppy farm. I have seen figures of over 400 bitches on one farm. Many of those premises seriously underestimate the number of dogs present. Inspections are by appointment, with several weeks notice being given to these establishments. When the premises are found to be non-compliant, they are given what is called an improvement notice and then invited to comply. Those who carry out the inspections lack the resources to do the work effectively. Instead of the authorities here working proactively, we are being shamed into doing something by the likes of the recent BBC programme on the puppy farms in Cavan. However, the animal welfare groups have been trying to rectify this and have been highlighting this for years
QUESTION NO: 56
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister of State for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English)
by Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning; Community and Local Government the status of the dog breeding establishment guideline review; his views on the submissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
In late 2015, my Department agreed to begin a process of review of the current Dog Breeding Establishment Guidelines, under the auspices of the County and City Management Association Dogs Working Group. The work undertaken to date has been to produce a first draft revision of the Guidelines.
It was considered essential to broaden the review of the Guidelines to a more formal public consultation, both for quality assurance and to address the need for openness and inclusiveness. A wide-scale formal public consultative process commenced on 1 December 2016 and closed on 28 February 2017.
My Department is currently reviewing the feedback and data received through the process before submitting the findings to me.