October 20, 2021
Time for real enforcement of dog breeding and sales laws in Ireland – Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan has called for an urgent debate on the issue of puppy smuggling following last night’s BBC Spotlight report.
 
Senator Boylan said;
 
“It is clear from last night’s investigative report that a lack of enforcement of laws north and south of the border is enabling criminal gangs to make millions of euros on the back of pain and suffering.
 
“Ireland has a raft of laws that aim to regulate the microchipping and online sale of pups, but there is a complete lack of enforcement.  Since the online sale of pet regulations were introduced almost 2 years ago there has not been a single enforcement case taken.
 
“This is despite the fact that hundreds of illegal online advertisements have been reported to the online platforms with fake and inaccurate microchip, seller and breeder license numbers commonplace. 

“In June of this year, Dogs Trust outlined to the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee how easy it would be to address this issue if the Department of Agriculture backed up the regulations with a traceability and verification system.  
 
“We already have such a system for cars, there is no reason that we can’t do the same for a dog’s microchip.
 
“Likewise, when it comes to information regarding breeders and sellers, a national database would allow for pre-verification of online adverts and provide transparency regarding the type of dog breeding establishment the puppy came from.  A national database would also help Revenue to crack down on tax evasion.   
 
“The Programme for Government promised new strengthened guidelines for dog breeding establishments but they have not been forthcoming.   

“The breeding bitches and stud dogs on puppy farms are often kept in horrific conditions and then disposed of when they are no longer of use to the breeders. The ratio of staff to breeding bitches is way out of kilter with best practise.
 
“There is also a legal anomaly in the Animal Health & Welfare Act that means those puppies seized at the ports have to be held until legal proceedings have concluded. 

“This places unnecessary stress on those puppies that do survive as they have to be kept in shelters for months.  It also depletes the financial resources of animal welfare organisations, something the criminal gangs are all too happy to exploit.    
 
“I have requested to meet Minister McConalogue three times to discuss legislation I have drafted in cooperation with DSPCA which would address this anomaly, but I am yet to get a response from the Minister.  Therefore, I have requested that the DSPCA come before the Joint Oireachtas Committee  in November to outline why they need this legislation passed.
 
“It is clear that we still have a long way to go to ending Ireland’s reputation as a puppy farm capital of Europe.”

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