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Un- pup-ular Puppy breeder 'will contest' closure order after council claim premises pose 'immediate threat' to animal welfare

PJ Rigney was found to have been housing dogs in 'substandard accommodation' in Co Offaly

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PJ Rigney of Circular Road, Daingean, Co. Offaly, who was served with a closure notice under The Dog Breeding Establishment Act. Pic KMC

PJ Rigney of Circular Road, Daingean, Co. Offaly, who was served with a closure notice under The Dog Breeding Establishment Act. Pic KMC

PJ Rigney of Circular Road, Daingean, Co. Offaly, who was served with a closure notice under The Dog Breeding Establishment Act. Pic KMC

Meet the latest puppy-breeder to be shut down - on the grounds his premises posed "an immediate threat to public health or animal welfare."

Offaly County Council alleges PJ Rigney has been running a dog-breeding establishment, housing dogs in substandard accommodation, in a yard off Circular Road, in Daingean, Offaly.

According to a closure order published by the Council on October 1, Mr Rigney was not registered to run such a facility

Approached by the Sunday World for comment on Friday, Mr Rigney told us "I'll contest it in court (the closure notice) if I have to."

Asked about the allegations contained in the closure order, Mr.Rigney responded: "Paper never refused ink, did it?"

Mr Rigney said he was not aware that the order had been published on the County Council's website.

He did confirm, however, that he had spoken with the County Council's Veterinary Inspector Aidan Grant and was aware that a closure notice had been issued for his premises.

In the notice published by Offaly County Council, Mr Grant outlined the reasons why the order was being issued.

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 Rigney of Circular Road, Daingean, Co. Offaly, who was served with a closure notice under The Dog Breeding Establishment Act. Pic KMC

Rigney of Circular Road, Daingean, Co. Offaly, who was served with a closure notice under The Dog Breeding Establishment Act. Pic KMC

Rigney of Circular Road, Daingean, Co. Offaly, who was served with a closure notice under The Dog Breeding Establishment Act. Pic KMC

"I am satisfied," he wrote, "that the operation of the dog-breeding establishment poses a serious and immediate threat to public health or animal welfare, details of which are specified below.

"You (PJ Rigney) are required to cease breeding or keeping dogs at the establishment and take such measures as directed to enable the rehousing, at your expense, of all dogs being kept for the time being at the establishment.

"If you contravene this closure notice you shall be guilty of an offence."

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Outlining the grounds on which he considered Mr Rigney's operation "poses a serious and immediate threat to animal welfare", Mr Grant wrote: "The premises in which the dogs are kept and management of same are far below required of a registered dog-breeding establishment.

"Operation of a DBE (Dog Breeding Establishment) without a registration or application for same: Premises and operator are not registered by Offaly County Council."

Mr Rigney had, until Friday, been listed as a registered pet seller on the Department of Agriculture's Register of Sellers and Suppliers of Pet Animals.

His name no longer appeared on the Register as of yesterday.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the Pet Sellers' Register is a list of sellers and suppliers of pet animals who have registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The list includes animal rehoming charities, as well as commercial entities.

Sellers/suppliers of six or more pet animals in a calendar year must apply to be entered into the Register and premises used in connection with the sale or supply of pet animals must be entered into the Register of Premises.

However, it said the registration requirement does not apply to persons to whom the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 applies, or a local authority or a facility run by or on behalf of a local authority.

It also does not apply to those who sell or supply less than six pet animals in a calendar year.

The closure order issued to Mr Rigney is the latest in a series of closure orders issued to puppy breeders in Offaly.

As the County Council's Veterinary Inspector, Mr Grant has been praised by animal welfare activists for taking a proactive approach to animal welfare in the county.

In February of this year the Sunday World reported on how Mr. Grant had issued a closure order to the mother of the county's state solicitor - with more 60 dogs subsequently handed over to the ISPCA.

Mr Grant issued the closure order to Maureen Mahon of Mill House, Lugmore, Geashill, on Friday also citing 'a serious and immediate threat to animal welfare.'

Maureen Mahon 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.

Maureen Mahon subsequently dropped an appeal against the closure order issued to her by the Council.

She is no longer operating an unlicensed dog-breeding establishment.

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