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cattle trailer Dogs seized from father of Fianna Fail councillor after being locked in container rehomed

An investigation was launched into suspected animal welfare offences after being called to a property in Co Clare in July


The seized dogs

The seized dogs

The seized dogs

DOGS which were seized from the father of a Fianna Fail councillor after gardai were alerted to them being left in a metal container in searing heat have been rehomed with an animal rescue and will not be returned to the family.

Gardaí launched an investigation into suspected animal welfare offences after being called to a property in Aghgegna, Co. Cavan on Sunday 18 July.

Locals contacted gardaí with concerns after four dogs were left inside a metal cattle trailer in a field as temperatures soared to 28c.


The dogs have since been rehomed

The dogs have since been rehomed

The dogs have since been rehomed

Gardai were at the property for a number of hours before Fianna Fail Councillor Craig Lovett arrived to speak to officers.

Around the same time as Cllr Lovett arrived, the local dog warden arrived at the scene and took the dogs away.

Cllr Lovett, who is a former All-Ireland jive dancing champion, a dog seller, a farmer, a livestock auctioneer and an estate agent, declined to comment on the situation when the Sunday World phoned him in the days after the dogs were seized and hung up the phone.


Fianna Fáil’s Craig Lovett was asked about animal welfare.

Fianna Fáil’s Craig Lovett was asked about animal welfare.

Fianna Fáil’s Craig Lovett was asked about animal welfare.

The day after we reported the story Cllr Lovett’s father Martin, who is an electrician by trade, told the Anglo Celt newspaper that he owned the dogs

“They're my dogs, so that's one owner, myself,” he said.

Martin Lovett also said his son did not own the land the dogs were seized from but did not clarify who owned the land.

Tina Boyle of Cavan SPCA was present on the land when the dogs were seized and said Craig Lovett told the gardai to get her off his property.

“He told the guards to “get her to f**k off my property”. Those were his exact words. The guards then had to escort me back onto the road,” Tina told the Sunday World.

The Sunday World can reveal that the seized dogs have since been rehomed and will not be returned to the Lovett family.

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A spokesperson for Cavan County Council said: “The dogs in question were surrendered to the Cavan County Council dog warden on 18th July 2021 and have since been sent to animal rescue for re-homing. As this incident is the subject of an active Garda investigation, Cavan County Council cannot comment further.

A garda spokesperson said gardai are continuing to investigate suspected animal welfare offences in relation to the seizure of the animals.

Tina Boyle said she was never contacted by the Council in relation to rehoming the dogs and is unaware of where they are currently.

“A lot of activists were ringing me and asking what was happening. All we were told was that it was being investigated by gardai and the dogs were remaining the pound until that was finished. The only other answer we were given is that [the Lovett’s] wouldn’t be given the dogs back.

“The County Council won’t name where they sent the dogs to. they don’t need to be secretive about it.”

She said she couldn’t understand why the Council wouldn’t contact the local SPCA about rehoming the dogs.

“The dog pound has nothing to do with rehousing animals and they didn’t contact the local rescue about it. Isn’t it an insult to us?

“It’s like they’re saying they don’t want anything to do with us. If they didn’t want to rehome them in the Cavan area, they could have contacted us about rehoming outside Cavan.

“All along they have fobbed everybody off. It’s an ongoing investigation but they’ve never given any answers to anything and they’re still not.”

“A lot of people were contacting me offering those dogs homes. they would have had offers of homes for those dogs without having them spend any more time in rescue.”

Limerick man Gerard Keohane submitted a number of freedom of information request to Cavan County Council in relation to the seizure of the dogs after reading the Sunday World story but said this week the council declined to release the information as there was an ongoing garda investigation and also due to GDPR concerns.

He said he had told the Council that he was willing to pay to rehome one of the dogs as he was an animal lover.

“I had a lovely boxer and had to put her down because she had a rare form of throat cancer,” he said.

“[A Council official] told me that under GDPR they don’t tell anyone where the rescue dogs go to but assured me these four dogs have gone to a rescue down the country and won’t go back to the Lovetts.”

He said he couldn’t understand why the council wouldn’t tell him where the dogs have gone.

“It’s very frustrating.

“What is all the secrecy about? Why not say for instance the dogs are in Limerick with animal welfare. Why are they hiding behind GDPR?”

In his freedom of information request Mr Keohane also asked the council if the seized dogs had been chipped and if so, who was the registered owner but once again the council refused to supply him with the information.

Cllr Lovett did not respond to requests for comment at the time of going to print.

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