TD calls for CAB to seize the assets of illicit dog breeders
This abandoned puppy was rehomed by the charity Dogs Trust. However, despite the good work carried out by organisations such as Dogs Trust and the DSPCA, profits from illegal dog breeding in Ireland are on par with drug dealing, it has been claimed. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wir
January 04 2021 02:30 AM
There are calls for gardaí to seize the assets of criminals making “huge profits” from running illegal dog-breeding facilities across the country.
In recent weeks, gardaí have uncovered several large-scale dog-breeding operations, with potential profits reaching hundreds of thousands of euro in some cases.
More than 20 dogs were rescued in the south-east in November, while in Dublin, animals with a combined value of around €150,000 were recovered from a suspected puppy farm.
Government TD Fergus O’Dowd has said that such extreme cases, where dogs are being bred illegally on an industrial scale, should result in prosecutions and assets being seized.
This could involve the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) using crime laws to target people making significant profits from illegal breeding.
The Fine Gael TD for Louth told the Irish Independent: “I think, from a health aspect, it is appropriate that an animal is bred properly and that the breeding of the puppy is transparent and that they are properly looked after.
“We have to understand that people can make huge profits from illegal dog breeding and it’s quite important that they be prosecuted.
“I certainly support prosecutions and the seizure of assets in particular cases where there are significant commercial operations outside of the law.”
He also said that legitimate dog breeders operating within animal-welfare laws should be registered and declare incomes.
“There is no reason why a person shouldn’t be registered, particularly for the sake of the animals, and income declared.
“People who want to buy may not always be aware how they’re bred.
“I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be licensed and registered, unless you were keeping dogs in very bad conditions.”
Profits from illegal dog breeding in Ireland have previously been described by animal charities as being on par with drug dealing, while the current pandemic has led to an increased demand for puppies.
There have also been several recent operations targeting suspected puppy farms across the country.
In November, gardaí rescued almost 30 dogs and horses in the south-east of the country over “serious breaches” of animal-welfare laws.
The seizure is understood to be linked to a family known to gardaí who are suspected in a wide range of criminality.
In the same month, gardaí recovered 32 dogs from an illegal puppy farm at a north Dublin site.
Dogs including chihuahuas, Jack Russells and pugs, with a combined worth of more than €150,000, were seized from the premises and investigations are ongoing.
In recent years, there have been several high-profile convictions of people running illegal dog-breeding facilities. However, there is very little evidence of assets being seized.
In 2019, Carlow man James Kavanagh was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to animal-welfare charges relating to the running of one of Ireland’s largest puppy farms.
The charges related to 63 different animals and he was disqualified from owning horses or dogs for life.
The court heard that 340 dogs and 11 horses had to be removed from the property. Four horses and 20 dogs had to be euthanised because they were in such poor health.