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Gardaí probe theft of eight dogs and drowning of two others at property of Maureen Mahon

Convicted illegal puppy farmer Maureen Mahon is understood to be devastated by the loss
Puppy farmer Maureen Mahon

Puppy farmer Maureen Mahon

Patrick O'Connell

Gardai are investigating the theft of eight dogs and the drowning of two others at the property of convicted illegal puppy farmer Maureen Mahon.

Sources confirmed to the Sunday World that the dogs were reported stolen by Ms Mahon (71) on Monday of this week.

The two dead dogs are believed to have been drowned in a sink. Maureen Mahon is understood to be devastated by the loss.

In a formal statement, a Garda spokesperson said: "Gardaí are investigating a burglary at a commercial premises in the Balligar area of County Offaly that occurred between the evening of Sunday, 27th March, 2022, and the morning of Monday, 28th March, 2022.

"No arrests have been made at this stage of this ongoing investigation.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 9327600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station."

Dog wardens removing animals from her property in Co. Offaly

Dog wardens removing animals from her property in Co. Offaly

Ms Mahon, who is the mother of Offaly state solicitor Maureen Mahon, was convicted of running an unregistered dog breeding establishment at her gated property in Lugmore, Geashill, Co. Offaly, four days before the thefts and dog killings occurred.

She entered a plea of guilty to the charge of being the owner, occupier and operator, on about the 25th of January 2021, who did operate a dog breeding establishment contrary to sections 22 and 6 of the Dog Breeding Establishment Act 2010.

Prosecuting the case on behalf of Offaly County Council, solicitor Emily Mahon told Judge John King that following an inspection on January 25, 2021, 43 eligible female dogs were surrendered to the ISPCA by Maureen Mahon.

Veterinary inspector Aidan Grant was called by Judge King to give evidence as to the condition of the dogs and the breeding kennels in which they were kept.

Asked by Judge King whether the dogs were in a good condition, Mr Grant replied: "No, there were a number of concerns raised."

He said these included concerns in relation to management practices and disinfection procedures.

He said a subsequent closure notice issued to Ms Mahon outlined the concerns noted for the animals.

In the closure notice, Mr Grant had stated: "On the basis of my inspection of the premises above on 25th January 2021, and on the information gathered by the dog warden at an inspection on 22nd January 2021, a total of 44 eligible breeding females, six litters of pups, nine adult males were recorded.

"None of the dogs were licensed or identified with a microchip. No records were available on request by authorised officers. No registration in place or applied for."

Mr Grant continued: "I am satisfied that the operation of the dog breeding establishment poses a serious and immediate threat to animal welfare.

"You are required to cease breeding or keeping dogs at the establishment."

During last week's court proceedings against Maureen Mahon, Mr Grant and a team of inspectors carried out a further inspections of her property.

It was noted at the proceedings that the number of dogs present at the property at that time did not qualify it for regulation as a dog breeding establishment.

Our story exposed the illegal activities of puppy farmer Maureen Mahon

Our story exposed the illegal activities of puppy farmer Maureen Mahon

"The background, Judge," Maureen Mahon's solicitor Mr Cooney said, "is Ms Mahon started dealing with dogs through a boarding kennels.

"But it was very difficult to run so she got in gradually into dog breeding. And it was prior to the 2010 Act, which brought into effect legislation dealing with dog breeding establishments.

"And she proceeded somewhat, and not just somewhat, in complete ignorance of the law, which is obviously not a defence for the number she had in January 2021."

Mr Cooney continued that the number of dogs found on the property the previous Monday did not fall into the category that would have qualified it as a dog breeding establishment.

"She is not going to be doing that again," he said. "She has no previous convictions."

Convicting Ms Mahon, Judge King imposed a fine of €1,600 and costs of €700 - giving her six months to pay.

Garda inquiries into the thefts of the eight animals and drowning of two others continue.

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