Dog not neutered due to lockdown gives birth to ‘largest ever litter’

Large litter
Owner Mary Killing did everything she could to stop the dogs mating (Picture: SWNS)
A dog, that would have been neutered if it wasn’t for the pandemic, has given birth to one of Ireland’s largest ever litters. Lab/Collie cross Bella and Irish setter/English spaniel Archie should both have been ‘snipped’ but had their appointments at the vet cancelled because of the lockdown. Owner Mary Killing, 51, tried to keep them apart but they managed to escape her attentions and Bella got pregnant. Between July 26 and July 27, Mary, a mum-of-five, watched in astonishment as her 15-month-old pooch gave birth to 16 puppies.

While one of the animals sadly died, the incredible birth is still one of the largest single deliveries ever recorded.

Mary, who’s from the small Irish village of Crecora in Limerick, said: ‘The neutering appointment was cancelled during lockdown as it was not considered urgent. ‘We tried keeping Bella and Archie apart, we tried nappies, Vick’s VapoRub and we separated them for a couple of days. It wasn’t to be though.’

The litter is understood to be the largest ever delivered in Ireland, with eight boys and eight girls arriving in just a few hours.

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16 puppies in total were born
Mary, who has been working from home, admitted it’s been ‘tough’ to look after them all (Picture: SWNS)
Mary with two of the dogs
It’s thought the litter is a new record in Ireland (Picture: SWNS)

Mary said: ‘I was in absolute shock. The vet had told us she was going to have eight to ten puppies. So having 15 was quite phenomenal. It’s a record I think.’

Mary said she was watching Game of Thrones when Bella started panting heavily and gave birth right there on her lap. She then moved the pup on to a large duvet to deliver the rest.

Mary said: ‘We had to get a suitcase the following morning to put them into to count them as they were wriggling all over the place. It was just phenomenal. We were in awe.’

Mary has been able to care for the huge new family as she has been working in her role with the University of Limerick from home but has admitted ‘it’s been hard work.’ The family are keeping one of the litter, first-born Walter – named by Isaac, 11, after Where’s Wally because he kept hiding. The rest of the pups are going to family and friends, including one to her eldest son Josh, 24.

Mary is not charging for the dogs and is only asking they are loved and treated like a member of the family. They are due to go to their forever homes this weekend.

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