Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan has called on the government to end the scourge of puppy farms by enforcing legislation and establishing a national database.
Today in the Seanad, Senator Boylan questioned Minister Pippa Hackett on what resources have been put in place by the Department of Agriculture to ensure online platforms are complying with the legislation.
Senator Boylan said:
“It was deeply disappointing to hear the Minister put the responsibility back on the potential pet owner rather than address the question as to what measures have been put in place by the Department of Agriculture to ensure compliance.
“The online sale of illegal dogs is a highly sophisticated operation with sellers using multiple profiles, phone numbers and in some cases multiple jurisdictions.
“During the debate, the Minister herself conceded that publishers of the adverts do not have access to verifiable data.
“So, if big websites can’t even access information required to verify adverts on their site, what hope does an individual have?
“Research by Dogs Trust already shows that 68% of people surveyed were unable to spot an illegal advert and 72% were unaware of the information legally required to be displayed.
“So, while it is of course essential that people give very careful thought before buying a dog and should consider adopting instead, it does not absolve the Government of its responsibility.
“They must step up to the plate and ensure that dog sellers and online platforms are legally compliant.
“It is not good enough for the government to try and outsource responsibility to individuals and publishers instead of doing their job and enforcing regulations themselves.
“In the immediate short term they need to roll out a public awareness campaign of the legislation informing all stakeholders of the information required of them.
“And then in the long terms they need to establish one centralised national database that allows someone buying a puppy to make an informed purchase and that gives unscrupulous puppy sellers nowhere to hide.
“So long as the government fails to act on regulation, puppy farmers will continue to flout the rules and puppies will suffer.”