Dogs Trust

Help stop the cruelty - sign our petition demanding harsher punishments for puppy farmers!

60,009 dog lovers across Ireland have signed our petition demanding tougher punishments for puppy farmers. Join them and sign today!

Mollie and Rudi were lucky to get out......But for many dogs, puppy farms are a #LifeSentence.

Puppy Farm dogs

Mollie and Rudi are among the lucky few. Although they may have suffered terribly, they made it into the care of Dogs Trust Ireland, and we were able to give them the love and care they deserve.

Love and care made possible by you. Your ongoing support saved them. Now your voice can help save others.

Mums live their whole lives on puppy farms – surrounded by darkness and filth, terrified and unloved – without ever seeing the world outside.

For them, puppy farms are a #LifeSentence.


We need dog lovers across Ireland to come together and ask the government to impose harsher punishments on heartless puppy farmers.


Greed and profit is all they care about

To people like us, a dog like Mollie or Rudi is a loyal friend, a wonderful companion, a beloved member of the family.

But puppy farmers have no consideration for the welfare of the mums or the pups they breed and sell.

To them pups are nothing but a paycheque. These poor mums were just machines for generating profit, by being forced to produce litter after litter of puppies.

Proper food? Humane conditions? Warm, clean bedding? Veterinary care? These just eat into their profits, so why would puppy farmers bother providing them? 

The current punishments are no deterrent at all

Here’s the bottom line: Puppy farmers will never stop their cruel practices until they are made to stop. And one thing that will make them stop are tougher punishments.

Sadly, the current punishments pale in comparison to puppy farmers’ massive profits.

Recent cases had paltry fines of less than €2,000. This is nothing to someone with vast sheds of tiny pens, churning through thousands of unvaccinated and uncared for puppies.

To them, this meagre fine is just a slap on the wrist – one litter of pups from a helpless mum could pay this fine over and over, hardly making a dent into the puppy farmers’ profits.

To us, our work involves helping dogs and puppies recover from this harsh treatment. We have had to spend over €60,000 on veterinary fees alone, treating 161 victims of puppy farming. Sadly, those 161 are just the tip of an iceberg of misery. There are thousands of dogs suffering in puppy farms across the country, right now, as you are reading this. 

It is clear that, if we want to end puppy farming for good, we need tougher punishments. But these will only come into force if enough dog lovers take a stand and demand change.

dog on puppy farm


So please add your name to our urgent petition to the Department of Justice today – by raising your voice you’ll be joining the growing numbers of Irish people who want to stop the cruel puppy farms from making dogs like Mollie and Rudi endure a #LifeSentence of suffering and neglect.

Don’t let them get away with this cruelty any longer!

By adding your name to our petition, you’ll be taking a stand alongside thousands of other dog lovers across Ireland and demanding our government treats puppy farming as a serious crime. You’ll be saying enough is enough – the cruel practice of puppy farming has been a stain on our country for too long.

Untold thousands of mums are living a #LifeSentence on puppy farms at this very moment. They deserve better. They deserve to be cared for and loved. They deserve to be happy and healthy.

And as for the greedy people who profit from the misery of puppies and dogs…they deserve, at long last, punishments they can’t afford.

On behalf of dogs like Mollie and Rudi all over the country, please sign and share our petition today.

The end of puppy farming starts with you.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a puppy farm?

A puppy farm is where dogs are bred intensively for profit with little or no thought being given to their welfare.

Over the last two years, we have cared for 161 victims of puppy farming! Many of the dogs suffered from matted coats, caked in their own excrement, overgrown nails, dental disease, ear infections, skin infections and were described by the charity’s veterinary and behaviour teams as ‘terrified’ of human contact. So bad was the condition of the dogs’ coats, many had to be shaved upon arrival.

Why are you running the ‘Puppy Farms are a Life Sentence’ campaign?

We want to highlight the often-lenient penalties imposed on those responsible for the horrific misery endured on puppy farms.

Over the past two years alone, we have spent over €60,000 providing veterinary care for 161 victims of this cruel trade. The majority of these poor dogs came from two puppy farms, and those responsible were each fined less than €2,000. We’re sure that dog lovers like you will agree that these numbers just don’t add up and charities shouldn’t be expected to foot the bill, while these cruel puppy farmers continue to profit from this vile trade.

By buying that ‘cute’ puppy advertised online, you may be unwittingly fuelling the trade that sentences the parent dogs, especially the mums, to a life sentence of misery.

What are the living conditions for mums and pups on puppy farms?

Puppies and their mums are often kept cramped together in dirty and poorly lit pens.

They’re often denied exercise and natural sunlight and left with little or no bedding.

The mums are continuously bred until they are too old, or sick, and are then often callously discarded. Frequently, puppies who taken from their mum while they are still weaning, can develop lifelong behavioural, health and developmental issues.

Rescued mums and their pups can take a huge amount of commitment, hard work, patience and love to help them turn into happy, healthy and well-rounded dogs.

Thanks to our dog loving supporters, we help rescue mums and pups from lives of torment and put their paws on the path to a new life of hope and happiness.

We also lobby for the rights and welfare of all dogs, who are the victims of abandonment or cruelty.


Do petitions work?

Yes, they do!

We have done several petitions about ending puppy farming. It’s a complex topic, so we have tried many different avenues to improve the lives of the dogs who are caught up in this vile trade. We have gathered over 91,000 signatures from the dog loving public, highlighting the appetite for change. As a result, we were called to appear in front of an Oireachtas Committee on the subject, so petitions do work!

The call to action in this year’s petition is also very different from previous years. This year we are petitioning The Department of Justice for tougher punishments for puppy farmers, instead of the Department for Rural, Community & Development who are responsible for the Dog Breeding Establishments Act. DAFM are responsible for the AHAWA 2013 and therein lies some of the complexity – there is more than one department responsible for dogs in Ireland.

Petitions are a vital tool in highlighting important issues, getting your voices heard, and rallying the policy makers.

What are the laws around the sale of dogs?

The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2013 or the DBE Act as it is more commonly referred to, applies to any establishment/person who has 6 or more female dogs capable of breeding and it can be found HERE.

In February 2020, laws to crack down on the illegal sale of dogs and pups in Ireland were introduced – and welcomed by Dogs Trust and other animal welfare organisations.

Now, to sell pets, a person must:

  • Register sales with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine if selling six or more pets per calendar year
  • Display a Dog Breeding Establishment number if in possession of six or more female dogs capable of breeding
  • Include specific information in an advertisement of a pet animal for sale, including the microchip number*

*lack of a microchip or a non-valid microchip, could indicate the person does not want to be traced, and raises a big red flag for the dog’s welfare, and the conditions they are being kept in.

The laws also state that it is illegal to sell a puppy less than eight weeks old.

The aim of these laws is to stamp out cruel and illegal dog breeding and improve the health and welfare of dogs being sold and supplied.

It is a LEGAL requirement for the sale or supply of a dog that a microchip certificate accompanies the dog. Please don't ever trust a person who 'will send you on the paperwork in the post'.







What do you mean by tougher punishment for puppy farmers?

Depending on what puppy farmers are charged with, penalties can be:

  • either/or up to €5k or 6 months in prison
  • either/or up to €100k or 5 years in prison

We would like to at least see the upper limit of the current penalties being applied as a deterrent to illegal puppy farming because at present, some puppy farmers are being fined less than they would charge for one puppy. This is totally unacceptable!

We would also like to see harsher penalties for registered breeders for breaches to the Dog Breeding Establishments Act such as sub-standard housing, husbandry and having more dogs than licensed for.


What issues might a puppy from a puppy farm have?

Puppy farms are a life sentence and dogs can suffer from physical and behavioural problems as a result of poor breeding and lack of exposure to regular handling, a normal home environment and everyday noises like hoovers and dishwashers and people coming and going etc.

Poor breeding can lead to all sorts of veterinary issues, including hip dysplasia, breathing difficulties, heavy parasite burden, chronic ear, eye and skin conditions, not to mention the potentially fatal Parvovirus.

Parvovirus – can be fatal but cost up to €1,500 to treat and often results in death

Worms – can be fatal but if it causes bad diarrhoea requiring a drip, it could cost €500

Hip dysplasia – two total hip replacements could cost €7,000

Patella luxation (dislocating kneecaps) – surgery on both knees would cost approximately €1,500 (depending on the size of the dog)

Congenital heart problems – if surgery is required, could cost €5,000-6,000

What do I need to consider if I want to adopt or buy a puppy?

Please see HERE.

How can I tell If a puppy comes from a puppy farm?

Many people will never know that their dog came from a puppy farm as it is very rare for them to actually see where their dog was bred. If you got your dog from an advert on the internet or a newspaper, a pet shop or garden centre and you did not visit the premises where the puppy was born to see them interacting with their mum and littermates, there is a chance that your dog was bred at a puppy farm.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous breeders are using what’s known as the ‘shop front strategy’ where a nice home is being used, often in a rural location and although the puppy is presented as having been raised there, there is no sign of the puppy’s Mum. Excuses will be made for her absence, such as she has been taken for a walk. Another ploy is to use a ‘fake’ Mum so it’s important to see the puppy and Mum interacting and see their relationship.

Why is it important for puppies to be around other dogs and people?

It is well established that the experience of puppies in their first 16 weeks of life will have lasting effects on their behaviour and health. The quality of experiences for puppies will therefore have a major impact on their lifelong quality of life. Both social (including other dogs, people and other animals) and non-social (including scents, sounds, objects and different environments) are important – all introduced carefully so every puppy finds each new experience positive.

Early socialisation means letting young puppies get used to other dogs/humans/other animals and to learn proper doggy communication skills so that they can get on happily with other dogs in the future. Habituation is teaching your puppy that people, other animals, new experiences, objects, and situations are nothing to be scared of. Both are imperative to ensuring a well-rounded dog. If a puppy is not socialised and habituated properly from a very young age and for the first year of his life, this can lead to serious behavioural issues in later life.

What advice do you have for someone thinking of getting a dog, at Christmas, or any time of year?

Please see HERE.


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Dogs Trust Ireland, company limited by Guarantee. Registered in Dublin, Ireland under company no. 396919. Reg Office: Ashbourne Road, Finglas, Dublin 11.