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BBC Spotlight probe to show how Ireland's illegal puppy farming has become 'new drugs'

Illegal puppy breeders in the ROI are making millions in the puppy trade and using Belfast to transport them to Britain

Pic: BBC

Jamie McDowell

A BBC Spotlight investigation due to be aired tonight on BBC1 Northern Ireland will examine the illegal puppy farming and trading industry in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The show is set to expose how breeders in the Republic of Ireland are making millions breeding dogs destined to be sold in other parts of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, with one expert saying illegal puppy breeding has become the “new drugs”.

Northern Ireland is currently seen as a hub for breeders based in the Republic and in Ulster who use ports in Belfast and Larne to move the animals to the mainland UK before they are sold as pets or for breeding purposes.

Belfast in particular has been identified as one of the main distribution points used by breeders to move the dogs across the water.

Speaking to the Spotlight, Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said: “For the puppy trade in Scotland, I would say 90% of all problems come through Belfast.

“To me it’s the new drugs.”

Reporters have also interviewed those who’ve unknowingly purchased dogs from puppy farms, speaking of the illnesses and other issues their animals have suffered having originated from the underground puppy industry.

Spotlight airs tonight at 10.35pm on BBC1 Northern Ireland.

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