Speaking after 140 dogs were saved in Leitrim, in the largest Irish canine rescue, ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said people who start out with a genuine urge to breed and rescue dogs can start to become part of the problem by hoarding large numbers of animals which they cannot care for.
“Somebody perhaps starts breeding, or maybe they have been offered some other dogs of a particular breed they like. Then they just can’t seem to let go of the pups or dogs and it just keeps accumulating. This gives rise to a situation where they have an unmanageable number.
“To you or I it might seem perfectly rational to think that it’s impossible for one person to look after 140 dogs, but for some people that just doesn’t seem to hit home.”
He said that although the Leitrim case was the largest number of hoarded dogs the organisation had come across, there were other cases of people holding on to large numbers of animals.
“We did take 108 dogs from a breeder a few years ago. She was initially a respected breeder, but then she stopped selling the puppies and just kept keeping them and they kept multiplying and multiplying.
“Some people start breeding and they don’t sell the pups and the numbers grow that way. Other people perhaps start rescuing dogs and they can’t say no. They don’t realise that they have stopped being part of the solution and have started becoming part of the problem,” he said
Both the ISPCA and Dogs Trust, which were involved in the rescue, said they have been inundated with calls from the public looking to re-home the dogs.
Catriona Birt, re-homing centre manager with Dogs Trust, which is re-homing 20 of the dogs, said it was hopeful homes could be found for all the dogs.
She said the 20 dogs are going through a period of veterinary and behavioural assessment prior to going to new, loving homes. “It is hoped that in the coming days and weeks all these dogs will get the second chance they so deserve. Because of the circumstances of their early life, the dogs assessed to date are suited for homes with an existing dog and older children,” she said.