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Irish Criminal Cartels Swap Drugs For Puppies

  • 19/10/2021

uspca-pups.jpgIreland's criminal puppy smuggling cartels are estimated to be hauling in around £150MILLION a year transporting and selling sick and dying dogs to the UK public through Belfast.

A major investigation by the USPCA has uncovered fresh details of mass farming and sales of pups in Ireland, 90% of which are believed to be seriously ill when handed over, with a third of them dying in days from Parvo.

At the heart of the operation are smuggling gangs who use licensed and unlicensed hauliers to slip into Northern Ireland and out through Belfast ports to Scotland with their living - and often dying - cargo on board.

Scottish authorities have described the illegal puppy market as the new illegal drugs business.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told BBCNI’s Spotlight: “For the puppy trade in Scotland, I would say 90% of all problems come through Belfast. To me it’s the new drugs.”

Now instead of drug cartels, the Irish criminals are working in canine cartels, causing immeasurable suffering to the dogs and the people who buy them.

A recent report has revealed that 25% of all dogs in families across the UK were bought in the last 20 months.

The vast increase in the demand for puppies and their cost sit firmly within the public’s control.

And the unrelenting public demand, the puppy farmers’ greed and the authorities’ apparent inability to get on top of the problem are at the heart of the crisis.

The USPCA estimates that a minimum of 37,000 illegally bred puppies are transported from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland and onward to Scotland every year.

The charity says this estimate is extremely modest given their investigation into the hauliers whose operations they are aware of.

This is in addition to the thousands of dogs being illegally bred in Northern Ireland and the puppies produced by 1,700 breeding females owned by 45 breeders licensed by local councils.

Illegal puppy farming has created a pressure cooker effect for Northern Ireland’s animal rescue organisations who have seen a clear pattern of surrenders that is growing in volume fast.

Maggie Dimsdale-Bobby of Causeway Cost Dog Rescue, said: "Puppies and adult dogs are being given up by families who simply cannot look after them, others cannot afford the burgeoning costs of treating conditions and illnesses resulting from over breeding and interbreeding.

"Female dogs who are no longer of use to the breeders are dumped or sold on, but their health tends to be fragile after years of intense breeding, poor living conditions and bad nutrition.

"And we are left to pick up the pieces. The councils and DAERA need to step up and put an end to the free reign these puppy farmers appear to have while they are breeding dogs, transporting and selling them. There needs to be a will to act and a plan of action, and we all know the most effective place to hit criminals is in the pocket."

Overheads for puppy farmers are minimal with each puppy typically fetching anything between £1,800 to £4,000 each and sometimes more for rarer breeds.

As demand has grown during Covid lockdown for pups in countless households across the UK and Ireland, criminals have filled the gap left by reputable and licenced breeders, meeting the level of public demand and the overwhelming impatience shown by desperate buyers.

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