Digital Desk Staff
Ireland is being used to smuggle puppies into Britain and allowing criminal gangs to make millions of euro because of a “complete lack of enforcement” of animal welfare laws, the Seanad has heard.
As The Irish Times reports, Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan said pups were being moved across the Border into the North and then transported by criminal gangs to Britain, depriving the Revenue Commissioners of millions of euro in tax.
She said better co-operation is needed between the authorities North and South but “there is a raft of animal welfare laws in this country and they are just not being enforced. That’s not good enough.”
The issue was exposed in a BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight investigative report broadcast on Tuesday.
“There are fake microchip numbers, fake dog-breeding licence numbers and fake seller numbers on websites,” Ms Boylan said.
She said animal welfare organisations are reporting illegal advertisements on a daily basis but even though regulations have been in place since last year no enforcement cases have been taken against illegal online advertising.
Today I raised the @BBCSpotlightNI report into puppy smuggling and how criminal gangs are using Irish ports to smuggle dogs into Britain. I outlined some of the measures that we could take in the South to enforce the existing laws and legislation that we need to introduce. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/fiJfHzMLKq
— Lynn Boylan 🍷📖🐾 (@LNBDublin) October 20, 2021
The Dublin Senator said that in June Dogs Trust appeared before the Oireachtas agriculture committee and its representatives outlined “how simple it would be to fix this”.
They called for a national database that would include the microchip, dog-breeding licence number and online sales licence number. Any advert to sell dogs would have to be pre-verified before it could be posted online.
Senator Boylan added that a microchip system could be put in place “just like the system for cars. After a number is entered, the system would identify the breed and age of the dog and the name of the person it is registered This is not rocket science.”
She added that because of an anomaly in the Animal Health and Welfare Act, puppies that are seized at Irish ports cannot be rehomed within five days as they could if they were seized under the Control of Dogs Act.
The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, one of the authorities involved in checks, has to hold on to the dogs for up to 18 months while legal proceedings take place. “That is bad for both the dog and the animal welfare organisation.”
Ms Boylan called for the Minister for Agriculture to be asked to attend the Seanad for a debate “on animal welfare and lack of enforcement”.