108 dogs have been removed from squalid conditions at a property in rural mid-Leitrim following a complaint to the ISPCA.
The dogs, most of which were Bichon Frise crosses, King Charles Cavaliers and Shih Tzus, ranged in age from puppies right through to mature dogs.
It would appear that the woman who owned the animals had been feeding them but the situation had spiralled out of control due to the sheer number of animals under her care.
Leitrim County Veterinary Officer, James Madden, described the situation as an extreme case of “dog hoarding” and said the woman was breeding some of the animals, but it would also appear that she was also taking in other animals abandoned at the property.
According to Andrea Sharp, Manager of the Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre (LAWC) in Drumkeerin, the recovery operation was one of the largest she had witnessed in her years at the Centre and it has been acknowledged as one of the biggest in the history of the State.
She told the Leitrim Observer that the animals had been kept in squalid conditions.
In a massive operation involving the LAWC, ISPCA, The Dogs Trust and the County Veterinary Office, the animals were surrendered by the owner and collected over a number of days last week.
To date 108 animals have been rescued with 90 of these now being cared for by the LAWC.
Andrea said that the animals were fed but had obviously not been groomed in some time and this left their coats so badly matted that it took a dedicated team of staff and groomers days to wash and clip the animals.
“When we picked up the animals we were shocked by their condition. Their coats were extremely matted and many had thick dreads of matted hair right down to their skin,” she told the Leitrim Observer.
“Their coats were also matted with a mix of sawdust, dog faeces and mud, which made them difficult to groom and their legs were soaked in urine.”
Many of the animals were also suffering from eye problems and one had to have an eye removed while the ISPCA was forced to put another animal to sleep.