Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan has welcomed the Agriculture and Marine Committee’s examination of the laws preventing illegal export and sale of puppies.
The CEO of the DSPCA, Brian Gillen and the Chief Inspector, Liam Kinsella, gave evidence on outstanding animal welfare issues.
Senator Boylan, a member of the Agriculture and the Marine Committee, said:
“Ireland has a raft of laws that aim to protect puppies, but it’s clear from the constant stream of reports in the media of horrendous animal welfare abuses, the laws are not solving the problem.
“That’s why I called for this Committee to conduct this post-enactment scrutiny of the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 and other animal welfare legislation. Its time to take stock of the existing legislation to ensure that it is fit for purpose. To see what laws are needed and what laws are simply not being enforced.
“It was very clear from listening to the representatives from the DSPCA that while much progress has been made on animal welfare in Ireland, we still have a long way to go.
“The DSPCA outlined the need to enforce and tighten the microchipping laws. Improving the information included on the microchip to include veterinary records would be a big step forward.
“Equally making the microchip proof of ownership is critical. Currently, people can walk into a post office and fill out a dog license for a similar breed as a dog that has been seized and claim ownership of the dog.
“My draft legislation would make the microchip number the de-facto proof of ownership and would require the registering of the microchip number when obtaining a license.
“The Committee also heard how some puppy farms have up to 600 breeding bitches and how pups coming from those establishments have behavioural and congenital health issues.
“The DSPCA rightly pointed out that responsible breeders can still make a living while ensuring proper socialisation, human interaction and genetic screening. However, it is clear from polling that the public don’t want industrial breeding of dogs and they want full transparency on puppy farms.
“There is no reason why there is not a single publicly accessible database of all of the dog breeding establishments, their size, their owners. There is also no reason why we can’t legislate for authorised authorities like the DSPCA to be able to carry out unannounced inspections of those establishments.
“I look forward to pushing for changes in these areas and will be raising them with Minister McConalogue at every opportunity possible.”