Scotland’s animal welfare charity seized 27 puppies early on Wednesday morning at the region’s Cairnryan Port as part of Operation Delphin, a task force set up as part of the fight against those involved in the illegal puppy trade.
The puppies, of various breeds, would have been sold for at least £600 each. All of the pups were taken back to the Republic of Ireland where they are being cared for by the ISPCA whilst investigations are on-going.
The Scottish SPCA have praised Port Police for their quick action as great lengths had been taken to conceal the puppies, who were locked in large wooden containers.
An undercover inspector said: “Unfortunately, the puppy trade is big business in Scotland with thousands of dogs being brought into the country each year from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in particular from large scale puppy farms. They are then sold on at huge profit by the dealers.
“We are working in partnership with a number of organisations and agencies to execute Operation Delphin, including Stena Line, Police Scotland, Trading Standards, HMRC and all UK and Ireland animal welfare charities such as the USPCA, DSPCA, ISPCA, and RSPCA.
“We are all continuing to work together which is testament to everyone’s commitment to tackle this growing problem.
“Dumfries and Galloway council have given powers to certain Scottish SPCA inspectors under the Trade in Animal and Related Products (Scotland) Act 2012. This allows us to enforce this legislation at Cairnryan Port to address consignments that have been brought in from the Republic of Ireland.”
The undercover inspector added: “The illegal trade in puppies is still a major issue. The welfare of the breeding bitch and the puppies is compromised due to intensive breeding regimes and causes distress to the families who purchase these puppies.
“When trafficked pups reach their new owner via the dealers they often develop diseases such as parvo virus and giardia. Often the young dogs die from these diseases which can be extremely distressing for the owners.”
The charity has issued advice to anyone considering buying a puppy.
“Trafficked pups often look fine when they are purchased, but problems will begin to show at a later stage.
“We want to remind anyone looking to buy a puppy to please only go to reputable breeders, a list of registered breeders can be provided by the Kennel Club or your local council.
“Always view the mother of any puppies that are for sale when the pups are still feeding from the mother, where possible it is best to view both parents. Never buy a puppy from a car park or allow for home delivery without visiting the breeder’s premises.
“If you have purchased a puppy that shows any signs of illness or distress take it to a vet immediately.”
The Scottish SPCA is urging the public to stand up against puppy dealers. People can pledge their support at www.SayNoToPuppyDealers.co.uk.
Anyone with concerns or information about puppy trafficking should call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
Information is received in strict confidence and can be left anonymously.