The Dog Transport Runs from the Irish Republic to the UK.
Dog Rescue conjures an image in many people’s minds of responsible individuals taking care of an animal in distress, tending to its immediate needs, veterinary attention, vaccination, neutering/spaying, assessing the dogs suitability to be rehomed, behaviour advice sought if necessary and ultimately finding the dog a good home, where it will happily spend the rest of it life and not be returned to the millstream of the neglected and unwanted. Is this too idealistic, the vision we like to believe in and the image that rescues like to portray to the public of happy ever after for puppies and dogs that find themselves entering the doors of rescue or is there a story to tell behind the scenes. I believe there is.
Have you ever considered why some dogs, even young puppies, find themselves in need of rescue in the first place or where they have originated from? We read the explanations given to rescue by people giving up their dog or puppy, new baby, house move, allergy, dogs’ behaviour, change of financial circumstances or even bought the wrong dog. Valid reasons or just convenient excuses, one can never tell.
Sometimes the puppy through adolescence becomes too high maintenance both in financial terms and its needs. Some owners feel guilty admitting this to a rescue. Some will try to find a home through free ads or the Internet; others leave dogs tied up outside rescues rather than are honest and speak face to face with them. For some owners handing a loved dog into rescue is a very last resort and can be a very distressing time. When through no fault of their own or their dog they reluctantly leave their dog in a rescue due to unforeseen circumstances. Walking away from a whimpering dog is very distressing, difficult to resist just one more glance over their shoulder before leaving in the hope that the dog will not fret for family in unfamiliar surroundings and the rescue will keep to their word to find their dog a good home.
What of the street dog, the ones that owners either intentionally or unintentionally allow to roam who are picked up by the dog warden and taken to the local dog pound and not reclaimed. What story lies behind the reason they have been found unwanted, if only they could tell us. In the UK most rescues struggle to find homes for dogs in their care yet oddly some rescues make a great effort to increase the numbers even further by importing dogs, puppies and even cats from the Irish Republic due to the high destruction figures in their dog pounds.
What happens to dogs that are released from Irish pounds into the hands of Irish rescues involved directly or indirectly in transporting dogs and puppies to the UK? Does the consequences of this action impact on the dogs waiting for homes in our rescues, some waiting for months or even years if the rescue has a non-destruct policy? The message relayed by Irish and UK rescues involved in transporting dogs is that our rescues are full of bull breeds and staffies and not everyone wants a staffie; therefore by sending Irish dogs to the UK people have a better choice. Is this true? There are certainly some nice dogs in rescues that take Irish dogs but should they take priority, have the chance of a life whilst our resident dogs wait longer in the queue and maybe never find a home? Is it irrelevant where a dog or puppy comes from and the reason it is unwanted providing it is cared for and found a home? Many in reply to this question will say, it does not matter, but does it if the numbers of dogs arriving are frequent and high?
Due to the regular high numbers of stray dogs impounded in the Irish Republic, unless the dog pound has an arrangement to release the dogs to a local rescue they will have an euthanasia policy allowing just 5 days for the owner to collect their dog. This short window and large numbers of dogs not just from the pounds but 'hand ins' direct to the rescue, puppies from back yard breeders and ex breeding bitches, offers the rescue a large selection of dogs and puppies but not always by choice. This allows both the Irish and particularly the UK rescues to cherry pick and select the ones they wish to have. They say it is all about ‘saving dog’s lives’ but is it if they cherry pick? They say the aim is to take as many dogs as possible that can be loaded into a vehicle that they believe they can rehome and transport to the UK. The Irish rescue will sometimes only keep the dogs and puppies for a short time, sometime a few days not adequate time to neuter spay or vaccinate, when this occurs it results in dogs leaving Ireland intact and puppies too young to be operated on. The vaccine routine used is uncertain too. The whole system operated by rescues involved both in the Irish Republic and the UK is shrouded in mystery and uncertainties.
When any Irish rescue involved in sending dogs to the UK as a ‘commercial activity’ they should comply with the Passport for Travel or the Balai Directive but they do not. They fail to even ensure that every individual dog, puppy or cat prior to leaving the Irish Republic is examined by a vet, fully vaccinated, wormed, in reasonably good health neutered and spayed,( if necessary). Which should be the very basis of good practice for every rescue, equally for an Irish rescue shipping dogs to the UK?
Some UK rescues are keen to take Irish dogs and this is their main source of supply, no doubt because they are so easily obtainable, presumably free, selected by themselves in some cases before arrival, so they will know what they can expect to arrive or ready waiting for them to pick up. The dogs and puppies as far as the eye can tell, often look in reasonable health and suitable to be rehomed and they are, often very quickly. However if the Irish rescues fail in ensuring the dogs are neutered, spayed and vaccinated the cost is passed onto the UK rescue receiving the Irish dogs.
The Minister of Agriculture in the Irish Republic assists animal welfare by offering rescues substantial yearly grants to those that apply. The question I ask is why are two most prolific Irish Rescues responsible for sending dogs to the UK and in receipt of a Government grant in December 2012 of £7,000 and £10,000 to assist with neutering/spaying, vaccination, and rehoming sending untreated dogs to the UK?
THE DOG AND PUPPY TRANSPORTERS.
Reading this one may wonder why I am so uptight about the dog transporters traveling to and fro between the Irish Republic and the UK if dogs are being saved from Irish pounds and the treat of euthanasia.
I wish to make it clear quite clear from the onset I am not speaking out against those in rescue that occasionally bring dogs and puppies, a few at a time to be rehomed in the UK or more providing it is carried outlegally, responsibly and with animal welfare the priority. What I am speaking out against are those involved that are operating an ‘economic activity’ but are not complying with the legal responsibility of doing so. That is wrong, people are financially supporting them as rescues, yet they are a business’s just like any other business and the dog’s puppies and cats are what bring in the financial benefit because people will donate, raise funds and leave legacies to a ‘rescue’ if they feel they are supporting the dogs and puppies in their care. But a ‘rescue’ that operates without full transparency only telling the public what they feel the public would like to hear regarding their finances is a long way from being totally honest and upfront with their supporters and how the money donated and raised is spent. Sometimes the public are getting duped into believing they are helping the animals (they may well be) but indirectly they could be helping and supporting those that run their business in the name of rescue. Sadly, sometimes that is the case.
Some ‘rescues’ involved in the frequent dog transport runs for many years. The movement of Irish impounded, unwanted dogs and puppies is not new, it has been in operation for some considerable time with more and more UK ‘rescues’ coming on board in support, both to collect and receive Ireland’s unwanted dogs.
Regularly vans both large and small, 4 wheel drives and even a cattle truck have been loaded with dogs, puppies and cats. Not a few dogs by a rescue assisting another but regular consignments of 30/50/70 even 80 dogs at a time are undertaken, in addition to litters of puppies and cats. These runs are regular, one UK rescue travels to Ireland every week to bring back 25/30 dogs, others travel every two weeks and Irish rescue can take 50 dogs or more when they have used the cattle truck. Some rescues book in advance the dogs they want to accept and display on their web site before they arrive in the UK. There is is not just one or two UK rescues on the transport run but a cartel of rescues some friends or off shoot of another setting up on their own. Some falling out with another back biting or jealousy creeps in over who gets what. It is crazy, six rescues on the South Coast and one in S Wales all on self-ego trips of who can take and rehome the most dogs and puppies from Ireland. They are not the only ones there are many other operating under the same methods elsewhere in the UK.
What none of them seem to appreciate or comprehend is that what they are doing is an ‘economic activity’ and due to this they have certain legal obligations.
These rescues rely in the main upon two Irish Rescues one is a Charity called Inistioge Puppy Rescue run by an elderly lady the other is called Animal Heaven Animal Rescue run by Suzanne Gibbons AHAR does not have any official recognition or registration as a either Charity or Company, they operate from two different areas and receive dogs from various pounds, puppy farms and assist with dogs from other rescues. Both are in receipt of the Ministry of Agriculture grant of £7,000 and £10,000. Inistioge Puppy Rescue is reliant upon UK rescues travelling to Ireland to collect the unwanted dogs and puppies. Whilst AHAR has on numerous occasions taken dogs in their cattle truck to the UK, dropping dogs off at a rescues enroute to the South Coast of England where the main receivers of Irish dogs and puppies are situated. AHAR say they have rescued 2,600 dogs last year with 70% going to the UK which is 1,820.
Anyone reading this will say what is all the fuss about the dogs are being saved aren’t they? Well yes they are being taken from a pound situation to two Irish rescues which are both in dire need of repair and refurbishment and lacking in facilities for the dogs and puppies they hold and rehome in Ireland and send to the UK.
Let us look for a moment at the requirements for transporting dogs and puppies as an ‘economic activity’. The legislation relating to transporting dogs and puppies is applicable both in the UK and Irish Republic so there can be no excuse for any rescue involved in the transport runs to not be aware, yet few comply resulting in the majority operating illegally without the required Authorisation 2 under the Animal Welfare Transportation Order 2006. They know it is easy and they have taken advantage of this loophole as there are no designated entry ports for animals transported between the Irish Republic and the UK. The Ministry of Agriculture in Ireland when he issued his year list of grants to rescues he reminded them of the legal requirement that they must adhere to. However how many will heed his advice remains to be seen.
The lack of stringent inspection and enforcement by border controls at the ferry ports used by the transporters has resulted in rescues taking chances of not being caught when they have transported dogs’ crated in unsuitable vehicles. For journey sometimes 12 hours or more by road and ferry in insecure loose cages inside vans and even a cattle truck. This is illegal anyone transporting dogs and puppies on this scale as a ‘economic activity’ must be in possession of Authorisation 2 under the Animal Welfare Transport Order for any journey over 65km and must have an approved and inspected vehicle to comply with the legislation. Some dogs would not be considered fit or acceptable to have made the journey to the UK if they were carried by registered vehicles and inspected at the border controls.
In recent transports to the UK they included an emaciated weak elderly lurcher, a blind German shepherd; a border collie too soon after a femoral head osteotomy endured an uncomfortable long journey in a cage for 12 hours which must have been unbearable. A pregnant staffie x that became pregnant whilst at the Irish rescue (based on gestation figures) gave birth a few weeks after arriving in the UK to 7 puppies but 4 died. Reports of puppies dying of parvo virus soon after arrival and sometimes dogs in poor bodily condition, possible from puppy farms, there are many more instances that due to lack of inspection by border control and Trading Standards animals have unnecessarily suffered on these transportations. If they were inspected when these dogs were on board before leaving they would have been turned back. The rescues involved I believe know they are operating inefficiently resulting in some using various ferry crossings each time to avoid detection in a periodic check.
It appears there is a common objective by all involved to take as many dogs from the Irish pounds and transport as many dogs out of the Irish Republic into the UK as can be crammed into a vehicle, regardless of the suitability or condition of some of the dogs and puppies, vaccine regime, spaying or neutering as routine or undertaken by all. It appears to be irrelevant. They ignore legislation and common sense appears to go out of the window.
Who are the receivers of the Irish dogs from Animal Heaven Animal Rescue which is not a Charity or as far as I know registered anywhere else? They are a business. They will I am sure not mind my mentioning their name as they are gaining much TV coverage this week and funds are rolling in. Surprisingly they do not say they will use the money raised from TV, radio and media coverage to improve the accommodation for the dogs at their premises or to vaccinate, spay and neuter but to purchase a new vehicle to take even more dogs to the UK.
Allsorts Dog Rescue appears to be the favoured by AHAR at the moment. Allsorts Dog Rescue is not Charity or a Company either; they call themselves a non-profit organisation. They are a business that rent kennels, and last year received nearly 500 dogs from AHAR. The dogs and puppies are displayed on Allsorts web site a few days before they arrive at their rented premises. The dogs photos are often taken at AHAR this enables prospective purchasers to reserve a dog or puppy (a little foolhardy perhaps as they have not met the dog and the ‘rescue’ say they do not keep dogs) before the dogs arrive in the UK. The purchaser is given a neutering voucher; the dog is priced at £150 but more for a Star dog (whatever that is).
Rushton Dog Rescue they are a new Charity, as yet are not required to submit accounts to the Charities Commission. Since moving from Dorset to Somerset they do not appear to have received many if any dogs from AHAR. Although previously and regularly transported dogs in their own vehicle from AHAR. Perhaps when settled they will start up again but they too will require Authorisation 2 and the correct vehicle if they resume the transport run to Ireland as before. They say they neuter and spay and all dogs are vaccinated.
Dorset Dog Rescue (DDR) is not a Charity or Company but a business. They do not own kennels and rely upon people to foster their dogs. They say they make a regular runs each week to Inistioge Puppy Rescue in the Irish Republic to pick up dogs and puppies and have been involved in doing so for years. They say they have a Defra approved vehicle however it does not appear that they have Authorisation unless it is in a mystery name as does not appear officially. Picking up 25/30 dogs a week plus puppies are a lot of dogs in a year (30 x 52 = 1,612). They offer a neutering voucher and vaccinate.
Stockenchurch Dog Rescue this is a Registered Charity with it appears very good facilities. They too have taken from AHAR dogs delivered by cattle truck. However they do not appear to take too many dogs or too frequently.
Many Tears Animal Rescue used to be in favour with AHAR but Inistioge Puppy Rescue is the main source of puppies and dogs in recent times. They are private Ltd Company running as business limited by guarantee but asked Companies House permission not to use the Ltd in their name. Guess it would give the game away that they are a business, a word that does not sit well alongside rescue. They do have a Defra approved vehicle and have Authorisation 2 enabling them to transport animals (dogs) over 65km. However they are known to be over zealous and on an occasion sent two vehicles returning to Wales with 80 dogs and puppies, maybe a lesson was learnt as some puppies developed parvo virus and died.
According to what was reported in 2011 they rescued and rehomed 2,000 dogs (not all from Ireland) they also take from puppy farms in Wales but far less than previously due to their involvement with Ireland. They own boarding kennels but most of their dogs are in foster homes throughout the UK. They spay/neuter and vaccinate dogs by using a part time vet working on the premises, which enables dogs to be operated on and vaccinated if necessary soon after arrival. The dogs and puppies are then transported into foster homes throughout the UK in the shortest time possible after arriving from the Irish Republic. A questionable practice as the dogs will already be stressed from travelling when operated and vaccinated.
Comfy Care Rescue, DAWG, Pound Puppy, Puppies Needing Homes all take dogs and puppies from the Irish Republic and as many others apart from Many Tears Animal Rescue who operates from Wales and Stockenchurch Dog Rescue in Bucks they are all in the south of England. Dorset Dog Rescue and Stockenchurch are registered Charities, Many Tears Animal Rescue registered at Companies House, Comfy Care Rescue, Allsorts Dog Rescue, Dorset Dog Rescue, Pound Puppy, Puppies Needing Homes and DAWG are not as far as I can tell not registered with any official body. Regardless of their status they all are operating as an ‘economic activity’ and all are obliged to comply with the law when transporting animals. Only one Many Tears Animal Rescue has authorisation to transport animals from the Irish Republic.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but it gives a brief glimpse of some of the rescues on the south of England and one in SW Wales involved in collecting and delivering dogs and puppies from the Irish Republic on the rescue run as an ‘economic activity’. There are many more throughout the UK.