Adopting & rescuing dogs. This is something I’m extremely passionate about. And there is a good reason to be.
Please note – there are reputable breeders out there. You need to research thoroughly to ensure they are reputable. They will also likely be Irish Kennel Club registered. More information is available here, and Dogs Trust also offer some helpful tips here.
To start off, here is an excellent article which contains a link to the 2016 BBC investigation into puppy farms in Ireland.
In 2013, we rescued Angel from Dogs in Distress. She had spent her entire life as a breeding bitch on a puppy farm. She was malnourished, and her tummy muscles were stretched from having continuous litters. We are unsure if she was rescued or dumped when her breeders realised she couldn’t have any more pups, the latter is the most likely case.
When Dogs in Distress took her into a foster home, she was given a tummy tuck, the growth on her forehead was removed and she was, for the first time in her life, minded and properly fed. We adopted her after a few weeks of living with her foster family.
She was so happy. She got extremely excited every time we fed her, loved lying out in the sun, but didn’t know how to play with toys or other dogs. She was initially nervous of men, particularly wearing hats and sunglasses etc, but thankfully she grew to trust those around her.
After a few years, she ruptured the cruciate ligament in her back leg. The vet told us it was because she had been so malnourished during her years on the puppy farm. It wasn’t long before the same thing happened to her other back leg. Then she ruptured the first implant she had, and we couldn’t put her through any more suffering – there was a long 6 week cage confinement for her recovery after each surgery.
We lost Angel in January 2017.
Her story is only one of thousands.
Throughout lockdown, puppy farms have been the busiest they have ever been. For several reasons this is extremely concerning.
The first is, of course, supporting an industry that profits from the cruel treatment of the breeding mothers. They can often live their whole lives indoors in a cage, with little to no natural light, living in their own filth. They often have very little human contact, except for when the puppy farm owners fill up their automatic feeders once to twice a week. When you purchase from a puppy farm, you are directly keeping these people in business, and keeping these dogs living their lives in horrendous conditions.
When life ‘goes back to normal’ (eventually!), I do worry that a lot of people won’t be able to manage keeping their dog, while going back to the office etc. There is a high chance that rescues are going to be a extremely overwhelmed. However, if you need to give away your dog, please never list your dog online as ‘free to a good home’, as there are people out there who will use your dog as bait in dog fighting. It is so difficult to think about, but there are horrible people out there. Please discuss with your vet and local rescue.
Tips for getting a dog
If you do decide to purchase a dog, the best way to go about this is by searching on the Kennel Club site for a list of registered breeders.
Please, please do not simply buy based on a search for pups online (dogs.ie for example) or on Facebook. You need to ensure when getting a puppy that you see the breeding mother and the conditions she is living in. If you simply go to collect the pup, and they don’t let you passed the gate, or see the mother – this is warning sign of a puppy farm. It is also worth noting that a lot of bought puppies from these breeders can be very sick. They often haven’t been vaccinated, haven’t been minded properly, the mother is sick, and also can be sold too young (they need to be kept with their mothers for at least 8 weeks). If they offer to drop the puppy to you, or meet in a car park, this is a red flag. More great tips are available from Rescue Animals Ireland here.
Ireland is the most notorious country in Europe for puppy farms, but we can stop this. But it is down to the choices of the general public.
If you can, please rescue. My family have rescued dogs since I was born. And each has been more loving than the last. A lot of rescue centres run strict checks, to make sure there is a secure garden etc. This is what seems to put a lot of people off rescuing, but please remember – if a rescue doesn’t approve you for adoption, there is probably a reason for this, which also means you shouldn’t purchase a dog either.
I sincerely hope this article helps persuade at least one person away from purchasing. Here are a list of some of the most fantastic rescues out there:
Dogs in Distress
Dogs Angels Ireland
ASH Animal Rescue
Rescue Animals Ireland
Irish Retired Greyhound Trust
Homes for Unwanted Greyhounds
Husky Rescue Ireland
Limerick Animal Welfare
West Cork Animals
Sera Husky and Animal Rescue (Kerry based)
Inistioge Puppy Rescue (Kilkenny)
KWWSPCA (Kildare and West Wicklow)
Find out more information on puppy farms from the National Animal Rights Association here (contains images some may find upsetting).
The Irish Times published an article on a puppy farm which was uncovered in Offaly, and the Journal.ie offer a wide range of articles on animal cruelty.