Management and wardens at dog pound questioned over animal cruelty allegations

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Wardens and management at Ashton Dog Pound in Dublin have been questioned by Gardai probing allegations of animal cruelty.

Earlier this week a number of employees were separately quizzed at The Bridewell garda station by officers as part of an investigation which started in July 2020.

Last summer Gardai were called in to investigate whether unauthorised veterinary drugs were used to sedate and euthanise dogs at the pound.

A source said: “Staff were brought in one by one and questioned about a number of incidents. This is a complex investigation.”

The facility in west Dublin operates a dog warden service for the greater Dublin area and is used by all four local authorities in the capital.

The inquiry followed claims from a member of staff that controlled drugs were being used to sedate animals, allegedly causing them to die in excruciating pain.

A whistleblower also alleged that a dog brought in with severe scalding injuries was left whimpering in pain without any treatment before being euthanised.

Last July the pound was searched by a team of gardai who seized bottles of pentobarbital sodium, a controlled drug used by vets to euthanise animals.

Computers and documents were also taken from the facility, and officers removed five dead dogs for autopsy, including a Bichon Frise and a Japanese Akita.

A garda spokesperson told Dublin Live: “This matter remains the subject of an ongoing investigation. There are no further updates at this time.”

All four Dublin local authorities have contracts with the pound. South Dublin County Council’s agreement expired in December 2020 and was temporarily extended.

A spokesperson for SDCC told Dublin Live they had advertised inviting tenders for the provision of “dog pound and related services”.

The spokesperson added: “The invitation to tender… has been published on eTenders and a closing deadline of February 3.

“The current contract has been temporarily extended until the tender process has concluded.”

Dublin City Council, which pays €277,000 a year for Ashton’s services, said its current contract expires on June 30, 2021 and it would seek tenders later this spring.

Fingal County Council said it has provided €301,000 for warden and pound services in 2021 and new tender documents were being prepared ahead of the contract ending in summer 2021.

A spokesperson for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in south Dublin said its vets carried out “regular unannounced inspections of the pound (at a minimum monthly).

“None of these inspections have revealed any issues regarding the welfare of dogs in the pound.

“The council has a contract with Ashton for a dog warden service which costs €59,400 and a dog pound service which costs €42,000 (expiring in April 2021).

“In line with Public Procurement procedures the Council will be seeking tenders for these services in quarter one of this year.”

Ashton Pound said it is “currently co-operating with a Garda investigation in relation to an accusation regarding a specific claim.

“Both staff and management are co-operating with An Garda Siochana with their inquiries and unfortunately due to the current investigation, we can make no further comment on this.”

The statement added that Ashton operates “within all current welfare standards and best practices”.

Source: Dublin News