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Cavan County granted planning permission to Edward Mulvaney for a puppy farm with 171 bitches.
The earlier part of our campaign focussed on a puppy farmer called Ray Cullivan. As Cullivan was the subject of a BBC Panorama expose many people already knew about him so we didn’t need to provide as much background information. Because the next part of our campaign is focussing on the planning application by Edward Mulvaney, it is important to explain why we are opposing this application and to give some background.
But before we get onto that this is just to say THANK YOU so much for all your help so far. You have been incredibly generous. We have a small short fall in funds so if we could possibly just raise another 1000 euros or so to obtain similar reports as we did for Cullivan it would be amazing.
The applicant and the puppy farm
Edward Mulvaney lives in Kilduff, Redhills, Belturbet, County Cavan. This is the same County as Ray Cullivan. The puppy farm on this premises was registered from 2012 until November 2016 to Eamonn Mulvaney. Eamonn Mulvaney also goes by the name of Eamonn Jackson. In November 2016 Eamonn requested he be removed from the register. It appears from Cavan’s records that at the same time Eamonn was removed Steven, his nephew, was then placed on the register as the person responsible for this puppy farm. Until around August last year this farm was licensed to have 100 bitches, it was subsequently increased by the Council to 180, plus they allowed a further 45 hunting dogs.
Following the BBC Panorama programme highlighting Ray Cullivan joint inspections were undertaken of Cullivan’s farm and this farm. The joint inspection of this puppy farm involved Michael O’Sullivan (Cavan vet), James Madden (Leitrim vet) and Conor Dowling (Chief ISPCA Inspector). Of significance are the following points:
· 520 adult dogs were found on the premises. Of these 460 were adult females. Eamonn Mulvaney (the then licensor) had exceeded his license by having 360 more breeding bitches than he was allowed.
· There was overcrowding
· Some pens the dogs were kept in were exposed to the elements
· Most pens did not have a separate area for sleeping and shelter
· The whelping pens lacked ventilation
· No provision was made for separate accommodation for the puppies
· The wooden kennels were in poor condition
· There was a complete lack of proper exercise facilities
Two more inspections took place. The conditions apparently improved sufficiently to allow the improvement notices withdrawn.
Why oppose this planning application?
We have reviewed the further information provided by the Mulvaneys and we believe that this premises poses many of the same issues that Ray Cullivan’s does, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.
1. Animal welfare – whilst this is not the top concern of planning authorities we think it is an important issue and one that should be considered at the planning stage. Ignoring animal welfare issues at the planning stage risks allowing a facility to be built that may comply in all other respect with planning issues, but ultimately not be fit for purpose. Our position is that the facilities planned will not cater for the dogs’ needs and will have a negative impact on their welfare.
2. Health and Safety – no consideration has been given to how the facility will store and dispose of the huge amounts of waste produced by the dogs. This waste poses serious threats to both human health and the health of livestock.
3. Environment – large scale commercial breeding facilities pose serious threats to the environment. The waste generated by dogs is extremely high in Nitrogen and full of dangerous pathogens that can devastate water ways. This farm threatens Cavan’s fishing tourism and all the businesses associated with it.
Thank you all so much for your help and generosity. Any questions, please feel free to get in touch.
Help us to oppose planning permission for notorious puppy farmer Ray Cullivan to run a puppy farm with over 300 breeding dogs
We need to raise money to instruct experts to carry out an environmental impact report for a potential appeal to the An Bord Pleanala (the planning authority)
Hi, I am one of lawyers helping Pups Not Profit oppose Ray Cullivan's planning application for his puppy farm. I am writing to ask you for your help.
Here is a bit of background for those of you who don't know about Ray Cullivan:
In May 2016 the BBC Panorama aired a progamme titled "Britain's Puppy Dealers Exposed" which featured a puppy farmer in County Cavan, Ray Cullivan. Undercover footage was taken of this puppy farm. The presenter of that programme, Sam Poling, described scenes of dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes shrieking and shaking. The footage showed crate upon crate of breeding bitches confined to tiny spaces with their litters of puppies, deprived of light and proper ventilation (see image below). She said that the conditions she witnessed on that puppy farm would haunt her for life. It haunts us and we want to do something to stop it - and this is where you can help.
Whilst puppy farming is legal in Ireland puppy farmers still need planning permission in order to operate. Ray Cullivan does not have planning permission for his puppy farm and has been operating it in breach of planning law for over 10 years.
He has now applied to Cavan County Council for retention planning permission to run a puppy farm that can house up to 300 breeding bitches. We have looked at the plans and we believe they are deficient in a number of respects:
(1) There is no regard for the health and welfare of the animals. The facilities are competely inadequate for the keeping of 300 breeding bitches, around 50 studs and the hundreds, if not thousands of puppies that will be born in that puppy farm every year.
(2) There is no regard for the environment. The studies commissioned by Ray Cullivan are premised on estimates he has provided the environmental scientists. We believe that the waste produced on that farm will be at least 5 times greater than what Mr Cullivan maintains it will. Dog waste is extremely hazardous for humans, livestock and the environment and a failure to properly dispose of this waste could have disastrous consequences.
(3) We believe that the noise and traffic generated by a farm of this size will have a negative impact on the surrounding areas. Again, we believe this has not been addressed properly in the expert reports.
An opposition to Ray Cullivan's plans has been submitted to Cavan County Council. A decision is due on 15 March. If Cavan apply the law correctly we believe that he will be denied permission. If he is given permission, even if it is conditional, we intend to appeal to An Bord Pleanala. This is where we need your help. The legal work that I and others are doing, we are doing for free. But we need environmental experts to undertake a study to determine the effect on the environment and prepare a report for us. We need to raise money to do this.
We are in the process of talking to a few experts to get quotes - so we don't have a target yet. But we need to get the ball rolling, because once the decision is out, we only have 4 weeks to lodge an appeal. When we have an estimate we will update the page.
If we raise more money than we need, or if we do not need to appeal Cullivan's application, then we may need to use the funds to oppose other planning anpplications. Eamonn and Edward Mulvaney are also due to lodge their planning application in the coming months - we may need to commission the same type of report for them.
In the event the money isn't needed for planning appeals we will come back to you all to discuss what to do with the money. We will at all times be completely transparent about how the funds are spent and we undertake that it will all be spent on the fight against puppy farms.
(image from BBC Panorama "Britain's Puppy Dealers Exposed")
A quick update:
So Cullivan and Mulvaney were both granted planning permission. Cullivan for 350 dogs. Mulvaney for 180 dogs. This is obviously a huge disappointment. But we are not giving up!!! We think we launched a really excellent objection and we think there may be grounds to appeal the decision of An Bord Pleanala to the High Court. So we are getting an opinion from a planning expert about this. If there are good grounds, then we will launch high court proceedings.
So the next phase is two fold:
1. We are raising funds to get an opinion. If it looks like our appeal has good prospects, then ...
2. We will commence proceedings in the High Court.
I, and all the team would be so grateful if could consider donating to our fundraiser. We have started on a new platform and the link is provided below. All the excess funds that I received (around 300 euros) will be put into this fundraiser:
Thanks so much to all of you. We wouldn't have got this far without your enormous support already.
Firstly, I just want to apologise for the delay in updating everyone. The final decision from An Bord Pleanala (ABP) in relation to Edward Mulvaney’s application was issued earlier this week. He was granted permission for a dog breeding facility that can house 180 dogs. In my view the ABP decision is poorly reasoned and in some respects seriously flawed. I will explain my reasons for saying this in another post. That said limiting the facility to 180 dogs in total would limit Mulvaney to around 30 - 40 breeding bitches. This is potentially a reasonable outcome. Unfortunately, it is not proving as simple as that. Currently the difficulty lies with Cavan’s interpretation of the word “dog”. As a result we are still trying to establish whether the planning permission is going to be enforced as we believe it should.
ABP initially issued their decision in late November/early December 2017. The order directed that Mulvaney’s permission limited him to 180 dogs and puppies. The effect of this, would as noted above, limit the number of breeding bitches to 30 – 40 and ultimately downsize this breeding establishment substantially.
I wrote to Cavan about this and made enquiries to ask when they would start taking steps to require the Mulvaneys to reduce the number of dogs on site and how this would be done (we obviously want the dogs to go to good homes and for it to be done as quickly as possible). Paddy Connaughton, the acting director of services at Cavan responded to say that they were “seeking clarification on the decision” from ABP. I asked Mr Connaughton repeatedly to advise what clarification was being sought. He refused to have an on the record conversation about this, or to provide copies of Cavan’s correspondence with ABP. His reason for not providing this information was that the letter Cavan had written could be misconstrued.
I was subsequently able to obtain a copy of this correspondence from ABP (not without difficulty and the involvement of Maureen O’Sullivan’s office). Cavan were seeking clarification as to whether the Board intended to use the phrase “dogs and puppies”.
The decision was put on hold whilst ABP considered the issue under s146A of the Planning and Development Act which essentially deals with the “correction” of administrative errors. So in other words Cavan were asking whether the word “puppy” was accidentally included by someone in admin and did not reflect what the Board had intended to be contained in their decision.
Section 146A gave ABP the option to seek submissions from third parties. ABP decided not do this and provided no reasons why. Some ABP admin staff proved very difficult to engage with.
A revised decision was issued earlier this week and the word “puppy” was removed from the wording so that the order now limited Mulvaney to 180 dogs. It’s worth noting that no other words were included such as “adult” or “of breeding age”. Therefore, from my perspective there was no material change in this alteration. In many respects this change actually brought the wording of the order in line with the one piece of legislation that defines “dog”, the Control of Dogs Act 1986. The definition of “dog in this act is a dog of any age.
Mr Connaughton however, advises that Cavan is going to take a different approach. Before I explain this, it is worth noting that the Mr Connaughton was given a draft of the information below and offered time to respond. Mr Connaughton wanted 2 weeks to consider the questions below. I did not feel this was a reasonable timeframe as Cavan had already formed a view about the interpretation of the word “dog”, so should be able to provide the information in a shorter time. Mr Connaughton would not consider providing an earlier response. So I have proceeded without his comment.
Additionally, I will note that Mr Connaughton has offered to meet. This could be a positive way forward, but I do not believe that a constructive meeting can take place until Cavan answers the questions outlined below. We need to understand why Cavan have taken this view, to consider and review it, in order to prepare for such a meeting.
Mr Connaughton and Cavan’s position is as follows:
(a) Cavan interpret the Board’s limitation of 180 dogs as allowing Mulvaney to keep 180 “adult dogs”.
(b) Mr Connaughton believed this interpretation was appropriate as the word “puppies” had been removed from the ABP decision.
(c) Mr Connaughton believed the interpretation of dogs as meaning “adult dogs” was consistent with parallel licensing requirements.
I asked Mr Connaughton questions about this interpretation and he would not:
(d) Explain what Cavan defined as an “adult dog”;
(e) Explain why Cavan believed it appropriate to not use the definition of “dog” as set out in the Control of Dogs Act 1986 and which defined a dog as being of any age.
(g) Would not explain what “parallel licensing” requirements he referred to.
Mr Connaughton advised that an order which referred to puppies and dogs was unenforceable because it could not be determined how many pups a dog would have and when they would be born. In relation to this:
(h) He ignored that the Mulvaneys breed specific dogs and should be familiar with litter numbers.
(i) He ignored the fact that a dog’s gestation period is relatively certain.
(j) He refused to address the point that the Mulvaneys could easily ensure that their dog breeding facility would remain within the 180 dog (this includes puppies) threshold by simply estimating litter numbers on the basis of their experience as commercial dog breeders, as well as planning and timing litters appropriately. Accepting that some reasonable leeway should be allowed to account for exceptional circumstances.
This is currently where matters stand. We need Cavan to properly outline the basis on which they believe the phrase “180 dogs” equates to “180 adult dogs”. From my perspective Cavan’s position is untenable. I find it very telling that they have formed a view on the interpretation but will need two weeks to respond my questions.
If you would like Mr Connaughton to address these issue sooner or if you have queries, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Again - thank you so much to all of you for your support.
The appeal against Edward Mulvaney's planning permission was lodged last week. We were able to instruct a sound expert and environmental expert again due to all of your very kind donations - so thank you.
Our expenses were almost exactly the same this time round (50 euros lowers our costs for obtaining documents were lower). So we spent 3,029 euros.
Altogether we raised 6,384 euros for both appeals (after fees etc). We spent 6,108 euros and we have 275 euros left over. We were hoping to hold onto this and potentially use it for the expenses of our experts if we needed to have them attend a hearing.
As soon as I have any updates about the status of the appeals I will let you know.
Again thank you so much for all your support, this wouldn't have been possible without it.
Just a quick note to say that today Edward Mulvaney was granted planning permission for a farm with 171 breeding bitches. We have updated the main page of the appeal and set a new target so we can oppose this.
We aren't surprised, but we are very dissapointed.
Thank you all so much for generosity. If you are able to donate again, we would be so grateful. But equally you have all done a huge amount so if you could just share this appeal that would a huge help.
Thanks so much.
Keep up the good work! Anything we can do to help - just yell.
Terrific update great work everyone. We will keep fighting for an end to the suffering of these innocent dogs.
Brilliant to get this update, thank you Michelle. It's great that people have been so generous that the 'left over' funds can be used to fight against other industrial scale puppy farmers in Cavan, Eamonn (Jackson) Mulvaney and Edward Mulvaney. I hope Cavan County Council have realised that we aren't going away and that this fight will continue until radical changes are made and puppy farming is outlawed.
May I ask who the UK vets are please. xx
Sorry - that should read - On the radio denying involvement in breeding, saying he had given all control......
As far as I am concerned you can keep the money and continue the fight. That Eamonn Mulvaney has some front. On the radio denying he had given all control of his pup farms to his nephew, whilst he launches a singing career and then applying to expand his vile business. I am behind you all the way xxx