Puppy farming is legal in Ireland. Currently there are over 70 registered dog breeding establishments throughout the country. These facilities are licensed for anywhere between 6 and 300 breeding bitches.
Dog Breeding Establishment Act 2010
The primary piece of legislation that governs dog breeding is the Dog Breeding Establishment Act 2010. This Act creates regulations called the Dog Breeding Establishment Guidelines. The Guidelines are currently under review.
The Act can be found here. The Act requires anyone who has 6 or more bitches, over the age of 4 months capable of being used for breeding purposes to register with their local authority.
The Guidelines with the proposed amendments can be found here.
Our position is that both the Act and Guidelines are currently poorly drafted and do not make adequate protection for dogs in puppy farms. Some of the most concerning aspects include:
- There is no cap on the number of dogs that can be kept in puppy farms. Currently there are farms in licensed to have 300 breeding bitches.
- Licences of puppy farms only consider the number of breeding bitches. So in theory a puppy farmer could have as many stud dogs, non breeding bitches and puppies on site as he/she wants.
- There is currently no requirement for a minimum staff to dog ratio. We have seen inspection reports where farms with upwards of 350 dogs (excluding puppies) only have 3 or 4 staff working on site.