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cruel business UK cops target Irish gangs behind illegal puppy trade where dogs can sell for up to €25k

The callous traffickers are cashing in on the huge demand for pets that emerged during the various lockdowns,

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Puppy seized from Irish gang based in the UK

Puppy seized from Irish gang based in the UK

Puppy seized from Irish gang based in the UK

IRISH gangs behind the multi-million euro illegal trade in puppies are being targeted by British authorities.

Animal welfare organisations in the UK have seen a huge increase in calls and complaints about sick and dying puppies since the start of the pandemic.

The callous traffickers are cashing in on the huge demand for pets that emerged during the various lockdowns, with prices for some breeds reaching well over €5,000.

But many of the unvaccinated puppies are kept in filthy conditions and become sick not long after being sold to unsuspecting customers.

‘Front’ people are used to sell the puppies to give customers the impression they are buying a puppy from a family home and not a breeder.

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Photograph of cage used by puppy farmers in the UK

Photograph of cage used by puppy farmers in the UK

Photograph of cage used by puppy farmers in the UK

Sourced from licensed and unlicensed breeding farms in Ireland, the young puppies are smuggled on ferry routes into the UK.

The Sunday World highlighted a number of prosecutions against breeders in Ireland throughout 2021, which revealed the filthy conditions in which breeding dogs were kept.

The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) have been active against bogus dog breeders in Ireland. In 2021, they seized 300 dogs and puppies from illegal dog breeders and uncovered 20 blackmarket puppy farms.

“These poor animals live sad and lonely lives in the most horrific conditions imaginable. They are often caged, with no room to move or escape from their own faeces and urine,” an ISPCA spokesperson said.

“Without adequate food or nourishment. Without daylight, fresh air, or exercise. Without love.”

The ISPCA have worked closely with their colleagues in the UK where inspectors have also been pro-active in trying to stem the flow of illegal puppies.

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The Scottish SPCA saw a 34 per cent increase in calls regarding puppy breeding, with 702 calls made last year, rising to 1,059 from January 1 to October 31, 2021.

Prolific

Last October, four cockapoo puppies were found dumped in a bush in Aberdeenshire after breeders tried to evade being caught following a raid by animal welfare chiefs.

Frontline inspectors and their special investigations unit ‘worked together to target the large scale, prolific puppy dealers from Ireland operating in Scotland’.

They set up an operation posing as buyers in bid to catch gang members red-handed.

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Puppy container used by gang in the UK

Puppy container used by gang in the UK

Puppy container used by gang in the UK

A few days before the sting, members of the public had come forward to report they had bought sick or dying puppies.

A special investigations unit inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover work, told the Daily Record: “This is a fantastic result.


“We successfully targeted prolific dealers in the Aberdeen area who we know have sold puppies who have sadly passed away.

“These Irish gangs are dominating the low-welfare puppy industry in Scotland. Under no circumstances should someone meet a breeder to purchase a puppy or allow a pup to be dropped off. Do not accept any excuse, no matter how plausible it seems. These people are master manipulators and will try anything to make you believe they are legitimate and responsible breeders.”

An investigation by BBC Spotlight also highlighted the central role played by Irish puppy dealers in supplying the trade to the UK.

It was estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 puppies are illegally shipped into the UK from Ireland, many going through Belfast.

Reporter Many McAuley was able to trace puppies sold in the UK back to men based in north Co Dublin and Co Galway who were involved in transporting the dogs from Ireland.

One London-based couple told the Sunday World how they bought a puppy from an Irish woman after responding to an online advert.

But within days of handing over Stg£1,000 for their cocker spaniel it became sick and it cost the couple another Stg£4,000 to keep the pup, named Bruce alive.

They were able to identify the woman from social media and discovered she has close connections to members of the same family as Dublin gangster ‘Fat’ Andy Connors.

The dog they bought survived but they discovered the vaccine cert, while genuine, belonged to another dog and a microchip showed only that it had come from Dublin.

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