Animal Cruelty & Neglect

What is animal cruelty and neglect?

Animal cruelty where an animal is suffering as a result of a deliberate human act, for example being beaten or repeatedly subjected to agrivated or fearful situations.

Neglect is where an animal is suffering because their basic needs are not being met, for example no food, failing to provide veterinary treatment or being kept in small enclosed spaces for long periods of time. Neglect can be intentional or unintentional.


The Five Freedoms

The DSPCA believes that the following freedoms should be met and provided for all animals.

  • Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition.

  • Freedom from discomfort.

  • Freedom from disease or injury.

  • Freedom to express normal behaviours.

  • Freedom from stress or fear.

Cruelty Cases

Dublin Port Puppies

In October 2020 a man traveling in a blue van was stopped by Customs and Excise officers at Dublin Port. When questioned if he was traveling with animals he denied it twice. His van however was searched and 4 little puppies were found hidden in a black plastic box in the back of the van. There was no ventilation and the puppies had no access to water. DSPCA inspectors assisted with the seizure and the 4 little puppies were brought…

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140 animals rescued from Dublin petting farm

In April 2021 we were faced with one of the largest intake of animals at any one time with 140 animals all in desperate need of veterinary care. The conditions our inspectors found these animals living in were simply appalling and incredibly distressing. Over a period of 2 days our inspectors removed 31 dogs, 46 rabbits, 9 guinea pigs, 6 geese, 37 chickens, 9 pigeons, 6 goats, 2 ponies and their foals. Others animals surrendered included geese, pigs and a…

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Emaciated Doberman

On the 19th January 2017, following a court hearing at Balbriggan Court by Judge Dempsey, the owner of an emaciated Doberman dog was convicted of animal cruelty under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. Before ruling, Judge Dempsey ask the accused, a woman local to Balbriggan, if she had any other animals. She replied that she currently has another dog. He then ruled that the defendant was sentenced to a one year ban on the ownership of animals, a…

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Cat neglect and starvation

The DSPCA are delighted with the court results from today of an owner of a cat who died due to severe neglect and starvation. Swords District Court found Rudolf Ciskos guilty of mistreating his cat and fined him €200 and court costs of €500 all payable to the DSPCA. He was also banned from the ownership of any animal for a period of 2 years. This is a great step forward in court proceedings in a case relating to a…

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Ear Cropping Case

In November 2021 we were faced with a sweet innocent puppy who had been seized from his owner by our inspectors and assisted by An Garda Síochána. He had one of the worst cases of ear cropping that we had seen. Most of his poor ears were cut off. They were sore and red with open wounds. The suture material used to stitch his ears had cut through his skin leaving deep sore infected wounds. His left ear had 8…

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Lacey’s Case

Lacey a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and was owned by a person from North Dublin. She was convicted under the 2013 Act on three counts - failing to safeguard the dogs’ welfare, failing to get veterinary care and to provide fresh food and water. She was banned from the ownership of a dog for 5 years and fined €2,200. Lacey weighed just 10.6kg when she arrived at the DSPCA (adult target weight 15/16kg). She weighed in at 14.5kg the day she…

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Ruby’s Case

Ruby, an English Bull Terrier was seized from a person in Ballymun. She pleaded guilty on two counts - failing to get veterinary treatment and failing to safeguard the dogs welfare. She surrendered the dog to the DSPSCA, was prosecuted under the 2013 Animal Health and Welfare Act and received a fine of €300. Ruby had a nail bed infection with broken dew claw, skin allergies and infected eyes as well as being underweight. Her condition improved quickly with veterinary…

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The DSPCA are committed to making it socially unacceptable to mistreat any animal. Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, our team of authorised inspectors rescue animals from situations of cruelty, neglect and abandonment. They also work closely and collectively with Government Agencies and authorities, such as the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine and An Garda Siochana.

Our inspectors assist and help strengthen the law on animal welfare in Ireland and influence decision making around legislation to help improve the lives of all animals.

Report Animal Cruelty

To report an suspected Puppy Farm please email

All cases involving farm animals must be reported to the Department of Agriculture, Food & The Marine. Phone 01-6072379 or email

For cases relating to cruelty to wildlife please contact the Wildlife Department at