A stronger, cross-departmental response is required in order to stamp out illegal dog breeding and to help reduce the number of unwanted dogs that are later cruelly disposed, according to Fianna Fail Seanad Group Leader, Senator Catherine Ardagh.

Leading animal welfare charity, Dogs’ Trust Ireland have temporarily paused their adoption services in an attempt to prevent people impulsively purchasing a dog this Christmas period. Their decision comes as it was revealed that the charity experienced a 30% rise in people looking to give up their dog in January 2018, in comparison to the year previous.

Senator Ardagh said, “Owning and raising a dog is no walk in the park and the decision to buy one should be strongly considered. Once the initial novelty wears thin, the toilet training and constant furniture chewing sets in puppies can become incontinent and hamper any lifestyle.

“The details of some disturbing cases of neglect and cruelty towards dogs as of late should be enough of a reminder to those considering getting a pup this Christmas, to avoid taking one on unless you have the right conditions and are in the best circumstances to accommodate it for many years to come.

“There are already 176 dogs being cared for in one charity’s North Dublin rehoming facility. This is just one kennel – there are countless more being operated by hardworking volunteers and Local Authorities across the country. These are likely to care for hundreds of unwanted dogs while sadly very many more must be euthanised each year.

“The ISPCA and other animal welfare organisations work tremendously hard all year round to ensure higher breeding standards in order to outlaw cruel practices but they need all our support to spread the word.

“The Dog Breeding Establishments Act which centred on regulating puppy farms was passed in 2010 but without tough enforcement, unscrupulous puppy farmers profit heavily at this time of the year.

“Puppy smuggling continues to be big business in our country, we’re regarded as the worst in Europe for illegal breeding and we do need to seriously examine banning the third party sale of dogs. The issues extend beyond the remit or responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and in fact should also be better regulated in terms of revenue and the Department of Justice.

Senator Ardagh concluded,”In order to stamp out such appalling practices to help reduce the number of unwanted dogs that are later disposed of we need to see a cross-departmental response.”