Saturday 23 March 2019

Dog cruelty farmer approved for breeding licence six months before horrific conditions exposed

James Kavanagh being taken into custody after the case
James Kavanagh being taken into custody after the case
Prisoner locked himself inside visiting room. Stock photo: PA
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

A man jailed for animal cruelty following one of the country's largest puppy farm rescues was approved for a dog breeding licence six months before the horrific conditions were exposed.

James Kavanagh was given two weeks' advance notice of the inspector's visit in October 2014, as was required under legislation. Inspectors noted that he had 90 dogs, fewer than the number he was licensed for, attached some conditions to his licence, and he was cleared to operate by Carlow County Council.

Six months later, gardai and the ISPCA, acting on a tip-off, paid an unannounced visit to the puppy farm at Raheenleigh, Myshall and found more than 340 dogs and 11 horses that had suffered a level of cruelty and neglect on an unprecedented in scale.

Dogs fed off dead horses that scattered the land and some had no water. They lived in stalls and sheds full of faeces. Some were in cages with no ventilation. Many were infected with lice and worms. More than two-and- a-half tonnes of dead animals was removed from the farm.

Conor Dowling, chief inspector of the ISPCA, said that the case - the worst he'd seen in 20 years - "shone a light" on the puppy farm inspection process and exposed "serious flaws" in it.

Kavanagh was sentenced to three years in prison last Friday while his wife, Jennifer was given a suspended 12-month sentence for allowing animal cruelty.

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News