Anger over NI’s multi-million pound trade in sick and dying pups
Former BVA President Daniella dos Santos has hit out at those using Northern Ireland as a gateway to bring hundreds of puppies illegally into Great Britain.
Speaking to BBC’s Spotlight, which exposed a multi-million pound black market in often sick and dying puppies, she said: “Everybody wants a dog at the moment, and it’s an emotional purchase.
“What these people are seeing, is low-risk, high-gain opportunities here to smuggle in puppies and make quick money without any thought for the people or the animals they are harming in the process.
“But what they do know, [is] that even if they’re caught, the consequences are so low compared [to] if they’re successful, which, is quite clear they are being successful, and the financial rewards that they get for it.”
The BBC NI investigation showed that hundreds of puppies bred in the Republic are being illegally moved to Britain through ports in Northern Ireland and also followed dealers who exchanged dogs in service station carparks and laybys before they were taken to Scotland by ferry.
‘Ruthless in nature’
Many of the pups had been bred in the Republic and were malnourished and diseased; with several dying while being transported or shortly after being sold to unsuspecting buyers.
The USPCA, whose report on the puppy trade in NI suggested criminal cartels could be making £150million a year from it, branded the smuggling operation “shocking in scale and ruthless in nature”.
Chief executive Brendan Mullan said: “We have a very grave issue at hand which is causing unthinkable suffering to the thousands of dogs who are only seen as commodities by those engaged in this cruel trade”.
Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture and Environment said it was aware of what was going on and had been trying to stop it, while Minister Edwin Poots described the trade as “abhorrent”, adding that the information in the Spotlight programme had been passed to the relevant authorities.
He added: “While my officials take all the steps they can, in conjunction with other agencies, to verify details of all notified pup movements, it is not possible nor practical to stop every vehicle moving through Northern Ireland’s ports.”
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