Multiple sources, including former staff, have told Gript that injured or ill dogs in Ashton Dog Pound were routinely refused access to pain relief or veterinary aid as the dogs “would be dead soon anyway.”
The allegations came after a Gript investigation uncovered a series of photographs of potential animal welfare issues in the pound. One set of photographs showing an injured dog which sources told us was refused veterinary aid and instead sequestered away from public sight until it could be put down. The dog in question had been brought to the pound suffering from burns, it was thought that a kettle of boiling water had been poured over one of its legs. Sources told us that the dog was “whimpering and limping, clearly in pain, and some of its wounds had become infected before it was pts [put to sleep].”
Gript understands that multiple staff members asked management at the pound to authorize them to give pain relief to the dog, as it was clearly in pain and distressed, but that they were told that doing so “would be a waste of money” as the dog was going to be put down in five days. The incident involving this dog happened a number of years ago, but we were told by sources that it was not the last animal to be refused pain relief and that this apparent policy continued after the dog’s death. It is unclear how many dogs were refused pain relief.
Sources also told us that it was perfectly normal for staff to be told not to seek veterinary aid for dogs suffering from the canine parvovirus and that staff were told to isolate the dogs, until they died, in an old stables that had been converted into a kennel. The same stables were used to hold injured dogs and dogs that management wished to keep out of public view.
One former member of staff told us that the stables “weren’t fit to put an animal in. They were filthy with no light. The floor was concrete, and it was always wet. There were no beds nor blankets for the dogs so they slept right on the floor.” Another source told us that the pound had put lights into the stables but that the lights were often left off, leaving the animals in darkness, in order to save money.
Another former member of staff at the pound told us “animals who had parvo were left to suffer greatly. They were hidden away from public view, left in complete darkness – you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face when the doors were closed.” Staff members would come in in the morning and find dogs dead in the stables after “haemorrhaging from both ends…it was a very cruel and unpleasant death.”
We talked to a number of vets about both the animal shown in the photos used in this piece and their views on the idea of a policy of withholding pain relief to dogs expected to die. The vets we talked to told us that the dog in the photos clearly needed some form of pain relief and to have its wounds cleaned and checked for infection. One told us, “it doesn’t take a vet to see that this dog needs treatment”, and that the idea of withholding pain relief to dogs injured like this was “ absolutely sickening.”
Documents seen by Gript show that staff members and volunteers at the pound tried to complain about the situation to people outside the pound, but their attempts don’t seem to have led to much improvement in conditions at the pound. Oftentimes it appears that authorities were simple uninterested in claims that there may be issues with the manner in which the pound was run.
After a Gript investigation in late July revealed that hundreds of animals had been improperly euthanised in Ashton Dog Pound we reached out to Fingal County Council, Dublin City Council, and South Dublin County Council – all of them told us they stood over their inspections of Ashton Dog Pound.
And yet, despite that, we know that those inspectors missed the fact that, for years, hundreds of dogs were bring put down improperly and that untrained staff at the pound had open access to a highly controlled, and very dangerous substance. It now appears they may have also missed a policy of refusing veterinary aid to suffering dogs.
We reached out to both the management of the pound and directly to David Stone, the owner of the pound, prior to publication. We received no response from the management of the pound but did receive a response from the pound’s owner, David Stone, who we asked if he would like to comment on or deny the claims of our sources. Stone told us that “We are currently conducting an internal investigation in relation to certain matters and are therefore unable to comment, to do so may prejudice the rights of staff.” We offered a final chance to deny or comment on the claims and also asked if he could confirm if the internal investigation related to the matter of dogs being refused pain relief or if it related to another matter, but he told us he could not give us any further comment or information due to the ongoing internal investigation.