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Gone to the dogs Mum of state solicitor ordered to close 'puppy farm' that poses 'immediate threat to animal welfare'

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

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The site in Geashill, Co Offaly this week

The site in Geashill, Co Offaly this week

The site in Geashill, Co Offaly this week

The mother of a state solicitor has been ordered to close an unlicensed puppy farm she was running - with more 60 dogs subsequently handed over to the ISPCA.

Veterinary inspector with Offaly County Council Aidan Grant issued the closure order to Maureen Mahon of Mill House, Lugmore, Geashill, on Friday of last week citing 'a serious and immediate threat to animal welfare.'

Maureen is the mother of Sandra Mahon, the state solicitor for Offaly.

Sandra Mahon garnered national attention in 2020 when she instructed counsel in the prosecution of 'Animal Auschwitz' puppy farmer Brendan 'Benny' Deegan.

There is no suggestion Sandra Mahon was aware her mother was running an unlicensed puppy farm.

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Oour man Patrick O’Connell at the site in Offaly.

Oour man Patrick O’Connell at the site in Offaly.

Oour man Patrick O’Connell at the site in Offaly.

When the Sunday World this week called to the Maureen Mahon's property, which is concealed from public view by high walls and gates, a woman working in the yard refused to acknowledge our questions or presence.

In the closure notice, Mr Grant wrote: "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 authorities 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, details of which are specified below.

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

Outlining the grounds on which "the continued operation of the dog breeding establishment poses a serious and immediate threat to animal welfare," Mr Grant specified six separate issues.

He wrote: "I am satisfied that this dog breeding establishment has:

"Fallen far short of the required duties of the Dog Breeding Establishment Operator outlined in section 15 of the Act with respect to the hygiene, disinfection measures, biosecurity to control the spread of disease.

"Stored dog vaccines on premises contrary to licensed storage conditions presenting risk of lower adequate immunity in dogs and puppies vaccinated at the premises.

"Failed to comply with section 16 of the Act which details the requirement to identify dogs with microchip; giving rise to concerns around illegal exportation under conditions that cause serious threat to welfare of pups born at the premises.

"Failed to adhere to the published DBE guidelines.

"Failed in requirements of record keeping associated with the activity; Section 15(2) - the operator maintains no records of birth relating to breeding females, deaths, sale and transfer of dogs from the premises.

Removed

"Failed to comply with the requirement of section 17 of the Act concerning notification of sale or transfer of dogs from the premises."

In a separate statement issued on Tuesday, the ISPCA confirmed it had removed more than 60 dogs from the premises.

In the statement, the animal cruelty association said: "As a result of information received by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), a joint operation involving the ISPCA and Offaly County Council was recently conducted and led to the discovery of an illegal dog breeding establishment operating without a licence.

"A total of 44 breeding females and nine male dogs were found on the premises as well as six litters of pups.

"In addition to not being registered, the conditions on the property fell below the standards required under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act (DBEA) and its associated guidelines.

"62 dogs and puppies were surrendered by the operator and taken into the care of Offaly County Council and the ISPCA where they are being fully assessed. Offaly County Council subsequently served a closure notice on the operator.

"The ISPCA would like to thank Offaly County Council for their prompt and determined action in this case and also the source of the information that led to this investigation.

"It is important that the public can have confidence that the Dog Breeding Establishments Act will be robustly enforced and that illegal dog breeding establishment will be dealt with decisively."

Efforts to seek comment from Maureen Mahon at her property were not responded to. Similarly, an emailed query to Maureen Mahon's daughter, state solicitor Sandra Mahon, at her offices in Tullamore did not elicit a response.

Inquiries to Offaly County Council's Environment section, seeking clarification as to whether the Council intends to prosecute any of the alleged offences outline in the closure order, received the following response: "Thank you for your enquiry but Offaly County Council does not make comments on individual cases."

The Department of Agriculture, which has oversight over micro-chipping of animals and issues concerning the storage of animal medicines, did not respond to our queries.

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