Puppy farm dogs found “living in own faeces”

Norma Fogarty, Limerick Animal Welfare with Sophie, a Springer Spaniel rescued from the Carlow puppy farm. Picture; Keith Wiseman
Norma Fogarty, Limerick Animal Welfare with Sophie, a Springer Spaniel rescued from the Carlow puppy farm.
Picture; Keith Wiseman

 by Kathy Masterson

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LIMERICK Animal Welfare is urgently seeking donations and suitable homes for ten cocker spaniels that were rescued from a puppy farm in Carlow.

The puppy farm was shut down by the ISPCA on April 16, leading to the seizure of an estimated 340 dogs of various breeds and 11 horses.

Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) was one of the animal shelters to take in some of the seized dogs.

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Ten cocker spaniels that were kept in a shed and used as breeding bitches were brought to the shelter in Kilfinane on April 22. Terrified and unused to human contact, some of the dogs had never even walked on grass and were nervous when they were first brought to the paddock to stretch their legs.

“The dogs we took were just piled up in a corner together shaking, they were terribly nervous. We only had room for ten but we felt that we had taken the worst ones, the other ones wouldn’t take as long to rehome,” LAW founder Marion Fitzgibbon told the Limerick Post.

LAW veterinary nurse Norma Fogarty said that the dogs’ ears were “highly infected” and their fur was matted with faeces due to their living conditions.

“They would never have been socialised; they were always in a shed having puppies. That was their life. They would probably have been standing and sleeping and living in their own faeces. Bright light made their eyes sore; they were always in the dark.

“Those dogs are going to be very hard to rehome, they’ll need very understanding homes. They’d have to start from basics like toilet training, and socialising with people. They’re nearly like a feral animal. The first time they were clipped here some of them had to be sedated,” she explained.

It will cost an estimated €500 to €1,000 to nurse each dog back to health as each dog has to be spayed, vaccinated, wormed and groomed.

Many of the dogs are also suffering from ear infections, while two had to have hysterectomies as their wombs were so enlarged from repeated breeding, and one will have to have surgery on a mammary tumour.

Limerick Animal Welfare is appealing to the public not to buy dogs from unscrupulous breeders, but to adopt a dog or buy from a registered breeder instead.

Puppies bred in farms like the one in Carlow often suffer from hereditary health problems caused by inbreeding and poor living conditions, and are unsocialised due to lack of human contact.

“The seller should be an IKC-registered breeder. There should be nobody breeding more than two bitches, in proper conditions, in a home environment. You should be able to go and visit the puppies in their home, see the mother at least, and the father if possible.

“The pup shouldn’t be homed until it’s over 12 weeks of age. It’s weaned from the mother at eight weeks, but they learn their socialisation up to age 12 weeks with the mother. If they are responsible breeders, they should have everything registered, there should be a guarantee that its had all its vaccinations, and been microchipped and registered,” Norma Fogarty explained.

An online fundraising campaign called ‘Fundraising for the 10 Myshall Puppy Farm Girls’ has been set up, and anyone interested can make a donation via Limerick Animal Welfare’s Facebook page, or by calling the sanctuary on 063 91110.