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Vets say new dog breeding guidelines must improve standards

NEW GUIDELINES FOR dog breeding establishments must improve the standards of these organisations, Veterinary Ireland said.

VI, which represents veterinary practitioners across the country, has asked the Rural and Community Development Department (RDCD) to ensure that the guidelines are published by the end of the month, as previously promised by Minister Michael Ring.

A VI spokesperson said the new guidance “is needed to provide adequate guidance and clarity to dog breeding establishment operators (DBEs) and local authority veterinary inspectors (LAVIs) and also to improve still the standards in these establishments”.

The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 came into effect in 2012. Then-Environment Minister Phil Hogan, whose jurisdiction previously fell under the issue, simultaneously introduced DBE guidelines to help organizations to comply with the law and to help LAVIs apply it.

The guidelines were put in place to increase awareness of welfare standards and to promote good dog breeding practices across the country. They deal with matters such as the construction and maintenance of establishments, as well as their registration, operation and management.

The DRCD is currently drafting revised guidelines, taking into account the 117 briefs received as part of a public consultation process from December 1, 2016 to February 28, 2017. These briefs and a summary report have been published on the website Internet of the department in February 2018.

Divergent views

The report notes: “Submissions received through the public consultation process contain many differing opinions on a significant number of issues, e.g. kennel size, staff-to-dog ratio, breeder obligations, buyer obligations , DBE licenses, power supply, etc.

“Each submission was reviewed and considered, relevant suggestions were extracted, and the data was compiled into a database for further analysis.”

A DRCD spokesperson said it is expected that the revised guidelines “will be ready for approval by Minister Sean Kyne, who is responsible for the Dog Control Act, later this month”.

“The Department is currently identifying any legislative changes that may be required.

Although the current focus is on developing revised guidelines, broader issues related to the enforcement of regulations and license conditions were also raised during public consultation.

“The Department is also considering whether further action is needed in these areas,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

A total of 258 DBEs were registered with local authorities at the end of 2017. A DBE is defined as any establishment in which six or more female dogs, over the age of six months and capable of breeding, are kept.

DBEs include hunting clubs, dog sanctuaries and boarding houses as well as establishments where dogs are kept specifically for breeding.

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Court cases

Speaking on the need for the guidelines to be revised, Dr Gerry Neary, Chairman of Veterinary Ireland, said: “There has been a significant improvement in the standards of DBEs in Ireland since the law came into force in 2012. »

However, he added that while most DBE operators are compliant and cooperating with LAVIs to improve their facilities and standards, local authorities issued 31 improvement notices and four closure notices to DBEs between 2013 and 2017. .

Improvement notices are issued by local authorities in cases where they are satisfied that there has been a breach of the law or of the conditions attached to the registration of the DBE, or where the DBE poses a threat to health public or animal welfare.

Closure notices, which require the DBE operator to cease breeding or keeping dogs at the facility, are issued when local authorities are satisfied that there is a serious and immediate threat to public health or property. – to be animals.

Of the 10 improvement notices issued by local authorities in 2016, four were appealed by DBE operators to the District Court. “This high appeal rate is due in part to a lack of clarity in current DBE guidance,” Neary said.

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