FOLLOWING the Herald’s story last week on suspected puppy farms along the Fermanagh-Cavan border dog owners have been outraged by the cruel conditions that animals are being kept in.
Since 2013, Cavaliers in Need, a dog rescue charity has rescued and rehomed over 1,200 dogs and most of these canines have been rescued from puppy farms.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone co-ordinator for Cavaliers in Need, Sonia Treacy is certain that the mistreatment of dogs for breeding and profit is happening on a wide scale in Fermanagh.
“Locally, there is puppy farms operating in Fermanagh. It is happening right across Ireland. The scale of neglect, abuse and suffering that these animals suffer is unreal. I do not have a problem with dogs that are healthy and produced in a save environment but I have seen dogs coming from puppy farms that have lost eyes, been left deaf, had rotten feet and other health issues because of the environment they have lived in.
“I think all animal lovers would agree that there is no way that an establishment with 500 dogs can look after the full welfare needs of the dog,” she added.
The majority of small breeders throughout the county are working to maintain the welfare of their animals, however the mass production of puppies is where the problem lies, she says. The council are responsible for giving out licences and regulating dog breeders but Sonia Treacy believes they must do more to ensure the safety of these animals.
“The council have to do more to regulate these puppy farms. The dogs coming from puppy farms are not being treated in accordance with this Welfare Act, and are not being protected. These dogs have to produce puppies two or three times a year.
“My own dog Ellie is a rescue through Cavaliers in Need and is a puppy farm survivor.
“She was taken from her mum at four weeks and taken into rescue at six weeks. She is one of the lucky ones.”
A spokesman for animal welfare section of the council said, “There are three licensed dog breeding establishments in Fermanagh. The council processes applications for a dog breeding establishment licence. Once a completed application is received, a council dog warden undertakes an inspection at the proposed premises to establish if it meets the current standard regulations laid down by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) with regard to operating a dog breeding establishment.
“The licence is renewed annually, pending a successful application and inspection.
“Council dog wardens also undertake a number of unannounced visits to licensed dog breeding establishments throughout the year to ensure adherence to the regulations and licence conditions.
“The council has no knowledge of ‘puppy farms’ operating in the Fermanagh area. If anyone suspects there are any such establishments in operation they should contact the council’s Building Control and Licensing service on 0300 303 1777.”
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