Waterford man jailed over ‘cruel’ puppy farm

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A mother and litter of pups finally experience some comfort and care after their ordeal.
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AN Animal Welfare Inspector with the ISPCA has described how “defenceless dogs” that were saved from an illegal puppy farm in Waterford have been able to start their journey to a new life.

Of a total of 42 dogs and puppies that were found living in converted sheds at the premises, 29 described as being in the worst conditions were surrendered to the ISPCA and taken into the care of Waterford SPCA. Inspector Alice Lacey explained that it took months of rehabilitation before any of the adult dogs were ready to be rehomed due to the issues relating to their nervousness and fear of people.

Ms Lacey was speaking after a case in Dungarvan District Court on Friday, May 13, when Michael Lenane (65) of Dromana, Cappoquin, Co Waterford was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment having admitted nine offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013.

issues relating to their nervousness and fear of people

Giving evidence in the case, Inspector Lacey told the court how a visit involving the ISPCA, Waterford SPCA and Waterford County Council, assisted by members of An Garda Síochána, was conducted on Thursday, March 25, 2021 following a report that there was an illegal dog breeding establishment operating at the address.

Inspector Lacey described how dogs were living in confined spaces with very little room to move or express normal behaviour. One shed where expectant mothers and females with young pups were housed was in virtually complete darkness and had little ventilation. Some of the dogs were without water and some had inadequate bedding meaning that young puppies were lying on bare, hard surfaces.

dirty matted coats, overgrown nails, and painful infected teeth and gums

Inspector Lacey described how, in addition to the accommodation issues, some dogs had dirty matted coats, overgrown nails, and painful infected teeth and gums.

The premises was subsequently served with a closure notice under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act by Waterford County Council.

Inspector Lacey also told the court that the adult dogs removed had extremely nervous dispositions. Asked by counsel for the defence, as to whether that was because she was a stranger to the dogs, Inspector Lacey said that their environment did not allow them to be any other way but that. She said that they were subjected to an environment whereby they were confined to a small space with little to no interaction for the purpose of breeding.

In addition to the custodial sentence Judge Brian O’Shea disqualified Mr Lenane from keeping dogs for life. He fined him €2,000, and ordered that he pay a total of €2,770 in veterinary and legal costs.

Commenting on illegal dog breeding and the work of the ISPCA and Inspector Lacey, Judge O’Shea said: “The work of this ISPCA Inspector is important in saving dogs from this type of treatment, which has the potential to be very lucrative and the work of the ISPCA needs to be commended in trying to shut down these places”.

Mr Lenane has appealed the sentence.

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