Police officers in Scotland have saved 24 puppies from being smuggled out of the country in a van at Cairnryan ferry port. The puppies, which were of cockapoo and cavapoo breeds, were found hidden inside cardboard boxes and were in poor health condition. The Scottish SPCA took them into their care and are investigating the incident.
Puppies were destined for Ireland
The police officers were alerted by the sound of barking coming from the van, which was about to board a ferry to Ireland. They searched the vehicle and discovered the puppies, which were estimated to be between six and eight weeks old. The puppies had no microchips, no pet passports, and no vaccination records. They were also dehydrated and suffering from various infections.
The police officers suspected that the puppies were part of an illegal trade, which involves breeding dogs in low-welfare facilities and selling them for high prices in other countries. The trade is estimated to be worth £13 million in Scotland alone and is linked to organised crime groups. The police officers arrested the driver of the van and seized the vehicle.
Scottish SPCA appeals for information
The Scottish SPCA took the puppies to their animal rescue and rehoming centre in Glasgow, where they received veterinary treatment and care. The charity said that the puppies were lucky to be alive and that they would have faced a long and stressful journey if they had not been rescued.
The Scottish SPCA also appealed for information from the public to help them track down the source of the puppies and the people involved in the smuggling operation. The charity said that anyone who has bought a puppy from an online advert or a suspicious seller should contact them and check the animal’s health and history.
The Scottish SPCA also urged the public to be vigilant and responsible when buying a puppy and to avoid supporting the illegal trade. The charity said that people should always see the puppy with its mother, ask for proof of vaccination and microchipping, and use the Puppy Contract, which is a guide for buying a healthy and happy puppy.
Illegal puppy trade is a growing problem
The illegal puppy trade is a growing problem in the UK and across Europe, as the demand for certain breeds of dogs has increased during the pandemic. The trade exploits the animals and puts them at risk of disease, injury, and death. It also poses a threat to public health, as some of the puppies may carry zoonotic diseases, such as rabies, which can be transmitted to humans.
The UK government has introduced new legislation to crack down on the illegal puppy trade, such as banning the third-party sale of puppies and kittens, increasing the maximum sentence for animal cruelty, and requiring all breeders to obtain a licence. However, the enforcement of these laws is challenging, as the trade is often hidden and involves multiple countries.
The UK is also part of Operation Delphin, a joint initiative between animal welfare organisations, police forces, and customs agencies in the UK and Ireland, which aims to disrupt the illegal puppy trade and rescue the animals involved. The operation has resulted in hundreds of puppies being saved and dozens of arrests being made.