Animal charity issues warning on animals being sold online

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The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has launched an investigation into online animal trading standards. The DSCPA want to put an end to the unauthorised selling of animals online without documentation.

Unfortunately during their investigation the DSCPA found multiple adverts which caused them great concern. DSPCA1 DSPCA2

Alex Petrilli, one of the senior managers at DSPCA, explained what they found during their investigation.

“There are multiple adverts showing unacceptable volumes of puppy trading. In one case, a seller had over 15 different dog breeds advertised, which amounted an average of 150 puppies that were kept in unacceptable conditions.”

DoneDeal is one of the biggest seller of animals in Ireland and on Monday the DSPCA met with senior management of DoneDeal in order to try to identify the sellers of the adverts which has caused huge concern. The company is now urging people who spot these adverts to report them to DoneDeal immediately.

“There are other websites where this happens but DoneDeal is the largest, with an excess of 4,000 live adverts every day. They currently have no way to trace sellers. You should have to provide documentation if you want to sell an animal. At the meeting, DoneDeal told us they are currently working with the ISPCA and they plan to employ six more people to monitor sellers,” said Alex.

DoneDeal are doing what they can but unfortunately some of these sellers are always one step ahead. “Some traders place advertisements from multiple devices, which makes them untraceable. One seller was found to have placed advertisements from 20 different devices.”

The DSPCA say they would like DoneDeal to remove the animal section of their website with immediate effect, but the ISPCA warned this may have a dangerous effect.

Dr Andrew Kelly, CEO of the ISPCA said:  “If DoneDeal was to shut down in the morning much of the market would be driven underground and it would be much more difficult to track down illegal sellers. We would urge members of the public who spot suspicious sellers to report it immediately either to us or DoneDeal.”


Meet Abbi the assistance dog without any formal training

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Border Terrier Abbi was never meant to be an assistance dog and has no formal training. Two-year-old Abbi belongs to Lucy Eccles, a six-year-old girl with Coffin-Siris Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes developmental delays and health problems. Lucy has difficulties with speech and language and demonstrates autistic behaviours. abbi andlucy

Lucy has spent most of her life in and out of hospital having very invasive investigations and therapy. She attends the Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf, Dublin and has at least two appointments per week and at the moment she is waiting on surgery in Temple Street Hospital.

Lucy’s mother Noeleen had initially intended on using Abbi as a show dog but unfortunately she did not make the grade. Noeleen however did notice that Abbi had some ability around Lucy and Abbi has now become a very important member or the Eccles family.

Abbi has brought some normality to Lucy’s life and by communicating with Abbi, Lucy is kept calm and relaxed. Lucy wears orthotics to help her walk. “The more mobile we keep Lucy, the better. Before Abbi came along, she would walk around and not notice her environment. Abbi helps her to avoid obstacles, encourages her to walk a little further, and Lucy is less prone to meltdowns. Life is much easier.”

As Abbi has no formal training they are not allowed to bring her into cafes or shops which is a pity. Noeleen is considering doing therapy dog work with Abby so that she can help other children.

Abbi also helps Lucy to communicate with other children.  “Lucy doesn’t have any friends, and can find it hard when she wants to run after children in the playground. But Abbi is Lucy’s friend, and when people come over to look at her, Lucy feels more involved. Abbi has changed Lucy’s life.”

Abbi is nominated in the Irish Kennel Club Golden Paw Hero Dog Awards, which aim to find Ireland’s most courageous and life-changing dogs. The awards take place on Wednesday, 21 May. Check out



Dog survives 150-foot fall from cliffs onto rocks in Cork

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Last week coastguard volunteers rescued a dog who had fallen 150 feet onto rocks at the bottom of a steep coastal ravine.

Bella the Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was adopted from a rescue shelter fell onto the rocks at RabbDog2its Cove in Glandore, West Cork. Her howls were heard by owners and they searched the cliffs tops for her.

Incredibly Bella only suffered a broken leg when she fell but the seas were high and darkness was falling.

Coastguard volunteers from the Toe Head-Glandore Unit swung into action following a frantic call for help issued by Bella’s owner, local photographer Emma Jervis.

“The situation was desperate. We got help from a local boat at Union Hall to try and access the cove at sea level but the swell was too high. We couldn’t even see her,” she said.

Emma and her partner Clo Reddin’s hopes for their pets survival were hanging by a thread. Coastguard cliff and water rescue teams were tasked at 7.15pm as concerns mounted over dwindling daylight hours. “The reason we go in a situation like this is that if we don’t go, the owner or another civilian might put their life at risk,” deputy officer in charge of Toe Head–Glandore Coastguard John O’Mahony said.

The coastguard boat was launched from Union Hall and lead by coxswain Carla Nugent-Mules the crew managed to navigate the rocky inlet and scale the slippery rocks to reach the distraught dog.

Coaxing her with treats they gathered the whimpering Bella and got her back to the boat. Minutes later she was reunited with her owners. “She wagged her tail and she was so happy to see us, it was such a huge relief, they were minding her so well,” said Emma.

The bewildered Bella was wrapped in blankets and whisked off to a waiting vet. The sensational pet Staffie suffered cuts, bruises and a broken femur but defied all expectations by surviving.

“Thanks to everyone who made a call, tweeted and shared the call for help and thanks especially to the Coastguard for rescuing her, they were amazing,” Emma said.

Dog charity say dog destruction numbers likely to increase in 2014.

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Dundalk Dog Rescue has welcomed the reduction in dogs being surrendered in 2013 but it has said that a number of factors will result in huge increases in 2014.

Last year Dogs Trust have said there was an 11.5% reduction in dogs being surrendered to Irish pounds and statistics released also showed a 21% reduction in dog’s being destroyed for the same year.

“Whilst 2013 may have seen a reduction in dogs entering the pounds and being put down, it is unlikely that this trend will continue into 2014 as so far this year we have seen a dramatic increase in numbers being surrendered into the pound together with an increase in strays,” Edel Halpin of Dundalk Dog Rescue told the dogs trustDemocrat. “Added to the increase of dogs entering the pounds there is the reduction in rescue places available now to Irish dogs in the UK – the main outlet for them – because of the passport enforcement under the Balai Directive.

“The increased costs for an Irish rescue to passport all dogs entering the UK puts huge pressure on rescues like ourselves.

“Each dog has to receive a rabies vaccination (although no rabies in Ireland or in the UK), microchip in addition to the normal 7/1 vaccinations that a dog only required in the past.

“The extra costs come in at between 55 and 65 euros per dog not including the extra weeks the dogs have to stay in kennels which has now increased to 6 to 7 weeks from 2 to 3 weeks.

“UK pounds are also experiencing an increase in the number of strays and surrenders because of the economic climate and all of these factors spell bad news for Irish dogs. DDR helped over 800 dogs in 2013 to new lives in the UK with a small number going to Sweden and Italy.”

DDR believe that this figure will be dramatically reduced this year because of lack of rescue spaces available to DDR and the extra passport and kennelling costs involved.

“Ireland, in the past 10 to 12 years, received massive help from rescues like Dogs Trust who at one stage provided the pounds with vouchers covering neutering, chipping and vaccinations for dogs rehomed directly to the public by them, in an attempt to reduce the huge number of unwanted dogs in Ireland, but many of the people who received vouchers when homing a dog handed the voucher back with the dog to the pound and in many cases the dog was in pup.

“This sums up the attitude of the majority of people in Ireland to neutering. Ireland had more than enough chances to come to terms with the huge problem but failed to do so and now it is too late for the future dogs.”

Up to 10 dogs a day (3,516 dogs a year)  are being killed in Irish pounds.

Speaking about these latest figures, Mark Beazley, Executive Director at Dogs Trust explains

‘“When a dog is picked up by a dog warden and enters the pound system as a stray, the pound has a legal obligation to keep the dog for 5 days in case the owner comes forward looking for their pet.”

However, when a dog is surrendered by their owner the pound has no legal obligation to keep the dog and the dog could be put to sleep that same day. Most of these dogs are healthy dogs and have just been surrendered by people who cannot or will not care for them anymore.

Dogs Trust will never destroy a healthy dog and send out a message to people to be responsible dog owners by neutering and micro chipping their dogs.

Dogs Trust runs affordable neutering and microchipping campaigns throughout the year and welcomes the introduction of compulsory microchipping of all dogs by 2016.”

Dogs Trust has been actively working with pounds across Irelandin order to rehabilitate stray and abandoned dogs and rehome them through their centre in Dublin. Operations Manager at Dogs Trust, Catriona Birt comments:

“Of the dogs entering our Rehoming Centre, 70% have come directly from the pound system with the majority of them being there, through no fault of their own. No breed is exempt from being abandoned or surrendered. Since we opened in 2009 we have rehomed almost 4,000 dogs and we have genuinely seen almost every size and type of dog come through our doors. The addition of our new Puppy Wing which will open in June this year will ensure we can save up to 500 additional puppies each year at our Rehoming Centre”

Dogs Trust is currently operating at full capacity with over 160 dogs and puppies in their care, including pregnant bitches, week old puppies and golden oldies.

If you are considering getting a dog, why not give a stray or abandoned dog a second chance of love and of life. For more information visit or call to Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre, Old Ashbourne Road, Finglas, Dublin 11. Opening hours 12 noon – 4pm including weekends, closed on Tuesdays.

A new way to bury your pet with dignity, respect and love.

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For most people the death of a pet can cause much pain and sorrow and can be like losing a member of your family. Pet owners often want a way to repay their dog’s loyalty by giving them a nice send off.

Pet cemeteries are one option available to people but these are expensive with plots costing around €500 and the islands only pet crematorium is in Belfast. Pets can be buried on private land as long as the grave is far from water and it is peffinsat least 1.25 metres below the surface.

A nomination at this year’s Student Enterprise Awards, which took place in Croke Park, may well have come up with a solution. Peffins was established in October 2013 by students from St Columba’s secondary school, Stranolar, Co Donegal.

“One evening I was chatting to a close family friend whose pet had died a couple of weeks before,” says the company’s 16-year-old managing director Conor McBride. “They were looking around our local area here for something to bury their dog in and there was nothing.”

Conor and his four colleagues, Carl Dunnion, Shaun Sweeney, Darren Bonner and Oisin O’Brien, conducted market research on 500 pet owners in the area and discovered that 70% would be interested in buying coffins, or ‘peffins’, for their pets should they become available.

With the help of their teacher and mentor MS Harkin the boys put their research into action and started to build the peffins in school as part of their woodwork class.

“I certainly thought it was a head-turning idea,” she says.

“I knew people were going to look at it anyway. It wasn’t really being done here, though there is one man in Donegal who uses cardboard, I think.

“But as the boys will tell you that’s not very good if you’ve got a big labrador to bury.

“I thought the idea was very hands on, so it was a perfect project for the class.

“They had to research it, they had to make it, market it and the idea was always going to create a bit of attention for them anyway.”

The wooden coffins are made using medium-density fibre-board (MDF) and the interior is padded with recycled materials which can include newspaper or cardboard. Peffins offer an extra small — for gerbils — small, medium and large coffins for pets and their aim is to help you “say goodbye to your pet with respect and love”.

Large coffins for big and medium-sized dogs cost €40, which Conor says gives the company a mark-up of between 20% and 25%.

When suggested that the boys could charge a lot more for these peffins the boys admirably state that grief is no place for greedy capitalism.

You can contact the boys on their Facebook page at

Help your pets shed those extra pounds using hydrotherapy.

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In the last few years a number of hydrotherapy clinics have been set up around the country. The dogs swim in special pools or exercise on hydro treadmills to lose weight. 

These centres were originally set up for rehabilitation for injured dogs. Joe Keane of Sunbeam Veterinary in Cork has said that hydrotherapy is now used for for overweight dogs.

“Four years ago we invested in an underwater treadmill as we were looking to the future and hydrotherapy is a good non-invasive therapy post-surgery. Three years ago we started to use the walker as a weight-loss treatment for animals that find it difficult to exercise because they are too large. Hydro therapy takes the pressure off all the joints. Like ourselves, it’s difficult to lose weight just by dieting — it’s better if there is a multi-approach to weight loss,” says Keane.

Overweight dogs can develop many health problems such as diabetes, joint, respiratory and heart problems. Injured animals who are unable to exercise are also prone to weight gain and this is where the hydrotherapy can help them.

Keane also urges owners to be careful with their dogs’ diets, and warns of canine obesity. “It’s a growing epidemic — it’s now considered a disease in pets. We need to make owners aware of this growing problem. People don’t realise that a slice of buttered toast is the equivalent of a burger to a dog or one biscuit is like a packet.”

Whether or not an overweight do loses weight is down to the owner and the owner needs to make the changes in their dog’s diet and their exercise regime.

In Kildare, at the Canine Hydrotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre, dogs are learning to swim in an 11x5m heated pool, as well as using a hydro treadmill. “Dogs are becoming couch potatoes like the rest of us,” says owner Mick Murphy whose business has the biggest canine hydro pool in the country. “I’ve seen dogs nearly double the weight they should be — they cannot move. We have reversed obesity in dogs, but it takes discipline, they say a minute of swimming is the same as a mile of walking.”

New or nervous swimmers first take to the water in a lifejacket but its not long until the pets will run happily intHydrotherapy-Jacob (1)o the water on their own. Some owners even book their dogs into the pool for ‘social sessions’ where owners can get into the pool and play too. Murphy believes the Irish, “are slowly beginning to cop on” about pet exercise and nutrition but he says owners must resist the urge to overfeed animals when they put on the “sad face”.

At the Veterinary Hospital, UCD, the Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) spokesperson Lynn Cogan says rehabilitation in general is a fairly new concept in veterinary medicine in Ireland but the benefits are now widely recognised.

“Hydrotherapy is gentle on joints but is a tough workout and will burn calories,’ she says.

It is very important to feed your dog the correct amount of food and also to understand what ingredients are in their food. Raw is by far the best way to feed your dog and a lot of Pet Shops now offers frozen raw food such as Nature’s Menu. The next best way to feed them is grain free. Grains such  as maize are of no nutritional value to dogs, they  are simply used as a filler.  Grain free dog foods such as Canagan and Orijen can be bought in Pet Shops or online at It is always good to be informed about your dogs food. If you have any questions about what you are feeding your dog, what is the best dog food for your budget or what you should be feeding them do not hesitate to contact the Pet Depot Team at or 0404 32498.