Over two dozen puppies have been rescued as a part of an ongoing investigation into illegal trafficking of animals ahead of Christmas, a news report has stated. The puppies were seized at Belfast Port in the early hours of Thursday after the officials observed discrepancies in their paperwork.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has said the rescue is the latest in a significant series of seizures at Northern Ireland’s ports and is a part of Paws For Thought, an initiative where dogs and puppies are given welfare and transport checks before they board at ports.
A spokesperson for Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) told Sky News: “At this time of year, the demand for a Christmas puppy is high, which fuels the trafficking of low welfare pups through our ports to sell them at an inflated price in Great Britain.
“Innocent animal lovers are often duped into believing these pups have come from a reputable breeder.
“Quite often, pups that are being trafficked come from illegal breeding establishments known as ‘puppy farms’ where they are bred in horrendous conditions.
“We have zero tolerance to this type of activity – reputable breeders will be able to prove origin and destination and have all their paperwork in order.
“The Department with the support from partners agencies, including Belfast Harbour Police and Belfast City Council, is leading the battle to stamp out this abhorrent trade.
“The rescue of these 29 pups demonstrates the effectiveness of the multi-agency approach in targeting those involved.
“We would also like to extend our thanks to our portal staff for their diligence and swift action in this case.”
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“While the enforcement activities undertaken by statutory agencies is critical in detecting and deterring the illegal trade in low welfare pups, the public’s help is essential to combating this abhorrent trade.”
The Paws for Thought Group continued: “Anyone encountering anything suspicious, or with information about persons possibly involved in the illegal breeding and sale of pups, can report their concerns to the Department, Harbour Police, councils or the PSNI, or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org”