140 dogs rescued from one house in County Leitrim

This little dog, called Scarlet, got a bit of a hair cut after the raid
Image caption This little dog, called Scarlet, got a bit of a hair cut after the raid

One hundred and forty dogs have been rescued from "deplorable conditions" at a house in rural County Leitrim.

The dogs, mostly Bichon Frise crosses, King Charles Cavaliers and Shih Tzus, included puppies and mature dogs.

Most of the animals' coats were heavily matted and they were also suffering from skin, eye and teeth problems.

The Irish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals said the owner had been making efforts to feed them but it had spiralled out of control.

She was described as a dog hoarder - a person who keeps and breeds dog without re-homing or having the necessary space, funding or ability to care for them.

Five days

Leitrim county veterinary officer James Madden described it as an "extreme case" of dog hoarding and said the woman was breeding some of the animals, but also appeared to be taking in other abandoned animals at the property.

Four organisations were involved in the rescue - the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Leitrim Animal Welfare, Dogs Trust and County Veterinary Offices.

It took five days to collect and rescue the dogs and take them to the respective animal welfare centres.

ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said: "The condition of the animals was appalling, their coats were extremely matted and many had thick dreads of matted hair right down to their skin.

"Their coats were also matted with a mix of sawdust, dog faeces and mud and their legs were soaked in urine.

"Many of the animals were also suffering from eye problems and one had to have an eye removed while the ISPCA was forced to put another animal to sleep, which is hugely disappointing while being a mercy there wasn't more than one."