South Dublin County Council (SDCC) have amended a €400,000 tender for pound services after Gript submitted questions regarding the tender to the Council.

The tender related to the provision of “a dog pound facility and related services.” Procurement experts told Gript that the design of the tender advantaged the current incumbent, Ashton Dog Pound, and that it would be immensely difficult for other applicants to even be considered for the tender due to the way the tender was written.

Gardai raided Ashton last year, after a whistle-blower notified them of the improper euthanasia of several animals. An investigation into animal cruelty in the pound is still ongoing.

Gript spoke to Sid Nagle, the vet overseeing Ashton, who admitted to Gript that hundreds of animals in Ashton had been put down by unqualified staff using a highly controlled substance called Dolethal. Staff would estimate the dosage each dog would require based on its size and would administer the drug, which is intended to be injected, through the animal’s food.

The vets Gript talked to told us that a dog killed using the wrong dosage of this substance could have spent up to 3 days dying as the Dolethal destroyed its body and shut down their central nervous system, effectively slowly suffocating the dog as its lungs failed. Multiple vets told Gript that the animal’s deaths would have been “horrific”, with one vet breaking into tears during their explanation of how the dogs would have died.

Sources told Gript that that sick or injured dogs were “routinely left to die in pain” in Ashton, with staff told not to call vets out to treat the animals as the dogs “would be dead soon anyway.”

A petition calling on SDCC to immediately re-tender the pound services, in order to remove Ashton and find a new service provider, had been signed by nearly 25,000 people.

The “clarifications” released by SDCC, include the reworking of requirements which heavily advantaged the incumbent, Ashton Dog Pound, and an extension of the deadline for submissions. A question noting that the initial tender advantaged Ashton was specifically noted in the document released by SDCC.

Cllr Trevor Gilligan, former Deputy Mayor of SDCC, told Gript that he would personally be “disappointed” and “dejected” if Ashton were to win this new tender, and that he did not believe that Ashton, if awarded this tender, could be trusted to maintain the highest applicable standards of animal welfare. He said that the previous events in Ashton had breached the public trust and that this new tender was “a chance for SDCC to make it right.”

We’ve submitted a number of further questions regarding the tender to the Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council, we will update this story when a reply is received.