Animal protection officers have completed the largest dog rescue in the history of the Irish state.

More than 140 dogs were recovered from a rural property in County Leitrim in an operation that last five days.

The Irish Times reports that the operation is the largest canine rescue in the history of the Irish state.

The owner of the house had bred dogs and also offered homes to unwanted animals.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) told the paper that the animals were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

The ISPCA also confirmed that it required the co-operation of three other organisations - Leitrim Animal Welfare, Dogs Trust and County Veterinary Offices - for the rescue.

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The report says the dogs were mostly Bichon Frise crosses, King Charles Cavaliers and Shih Tzus and ranged in age from puppies right through to mature dogs. Vets said the majority were heavily matted and were suffering from skin, eye and teeth problems.

Leitrim county veterinary officer James Madden told the Irish Times that the owner was breeding some of the animals, but also apparently taking in abandoned animals at the property.

ISPCA officers said the owner had been making efforts to feed the dogs but the situation had ‘spiralled out of control’ due to ‘the sheer number of animals.’

ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said: “The condition of the animals was appalling.”

“Their coats were extremely matted with a mix of sawdust, dog faeces and mud. Many had thick dreads of matted hair right down to their skin, 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.”