Puppy Trafficking Horror Unveiled

More than 80 puppies have been seized during a major RSPCA investigation into puppy trafficking and the alleged sale of sick dogs via internet ads.

RSPCA inspectors also discovered four dead puppies – including two left in a bucket in the footwell of a parked car – when they carried out three warrants across Stockport and Greater Manchester yesterday morning (28.11.12) as part of Operation Pagan.

87 puppies – including French Bulldogs, West Highland Terriers and Pomeranians – were seized after a man and a woman were arrested. The adult male was arrested on suspicion of breaching a ban on keeping animals, while the female was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting the male to breach the ban. Both were bailed. Two other men who were at the premises during the warrants were interviewed, but released without arrest.

An independent vet inspected the puppies and determined that six were in need of treatment for sickness. Other items seized included documentation, mobile phones and computers.

All of the puppies are now in the RSPCA’s care pending the outcome of the investigation.

RSPCA inspectors from the charities special operations unit and uniform division were joined by officers from Greater Manchester Police who facilitated the morning raids.

The RSPCA today reissued its warning to people to do their homework when they are buying a puppy – and not to buy a pet as a present.

Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “There are thousands of dogs in rescue centres desperately looking for new homes, but many people continue to fuel the trade in imported puppies by buying from rogue sellers who simply see the animals as money makers.

“At this time of year especially, we want to hammer home the message that people should never buy a dog as a Christmas present.

“Having a pet is a major responsibility, and not something that should be done on a whim as a gift for someone.

“Never let your heart rule your head and buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it. If you have any reservations at all, you should always walk away.”

Sergeant Mike Cooper, from Greater Manchester Police, said: “We have worked extremely closely with our colleagues at the RSPCA in the planning and execution of this operation.

“Two people have been arrested and are now on police bail pending further enquiries. We witnesses some shocking scenes yesterday and we will do everything we can to assist the RSPCA in any future prosecution or operation.

“People should only buy pets through the proper channels after considered thought and I would like to echo the RSPCA’s sentiments that they should not be given as gifts this Christmas.”

A full list of advice for potential puppy owners, and what to look out for when looking for a new pet dog, are available at the RSPCA’s www.getpuppysmart.com website. Tips include:

· Do your homework to match the right dog with your home, family and lifestyle and that you can afford the long-term costs.

· Phone ahead before visiting any puppies and know the right questions to ask.

· Don’t buy a puppy straight away – go home and take time to consider your choice and visit it at least twice.

· Always choose a puppy based on its likely health and temperament and not just its looks – a healthy puppy is much better than a pretty one.

· Never be tempted to buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it – another will only be bred to replace it.

The daily rate for a rescued dog in an RSPCA welfare centre, including food, housing and staff care, is £15 – all funded by public donations.

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