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Question

633. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice the number of prosecutions for offences at or involving illegal puppy farms and or illegal dog breeding establishments in each year from 2010 to 2020. [23978/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy is aware, the decision about whether or not to prosecute a person, and for what crime, is entirely a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions and I, as Minister, have no role in such matters.
As the Deputy will appreciate, matters relating to animal welfare are not under my remit as Minister for Justice. I understand that the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which is within the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, provides a modern and robust framework for dealing with issues relating to animal welfare. I further understand that Local Authorities are responsible under the Act for inspection of the breeding facilities referred to by the Deputy.
I have been advised by An Garda Síochána that there is no specific incident type from which cruelty to animals or offences relating to puppy farms can be isolated on PULSE. In addition, there is no mention of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (which contains the offence relating to puppy farms which came into effect on 1 February 2020) on the legislative act table on PULSE and hence there are no offence codes on PULSE that are linked to that Act. There is a broader incident type of ‘Offences against Animals’ which includes cruelty to animals amongst numerous others, and figures relating to those offences were provided to the Deputy in the answer to Parliamentary Question No. 691 of 13 January 2021.
I have been further advised by the Courts Service that these offences do not have dedicated codes in place on the Courts Service Case Management System, but rather are processed by way of free text which is a format used by prosecutors for all offences with no dedicated code.