From January 1 to October 31 this year, 1,059 calls were made to the Society’s animal helpline regarding low-welfare puppy breeding. This is compared to 702 calls in 2020. The 34 per cent increase has seen 56 puppies have been seized so far this year by investigators. Another 150 were saved from the low-welfare industry in 2020.
The campaign launches just weeks after the Scottish SPCA rescued four cockapoo puppies from bad breeders – which were found dumped in a bush at the side of the road in the Aberdeen area.
Frontline inspectors and the charity’s special investigations unit worked together to target the large scale, prolific puppy dealers from Ireland operating in Scotland, particularly in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.
As a team closed in on the cruel crooks, they fled and dumped the tiny puppies by a roadside.
The Society was tipped off on the location of the low-welfare dealers but the breeders fled and dumped the four cockapoos to evade being caught.
A few days before the sting, members of the public had come forward to report they had bought sick or dying puppies. It’s suspected that these pups were sold by the same crime groups.
The rescued puppies have tested positive for giardia and are currently undergoing further tests for other contagious and potentially life-threatening diseases. They are now at a Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centre.
A special investigations unit inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover work, said: “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.
“We are preparing a report for the Procurator Fiscal and we cannot provide any further details about this case at this time.
“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."
“Bad puppy dealers are still using the pandemic restrictions to trick the public. We are urging the public to be vigilant when buying a puppy and not to accept any excuse not to see the puppy with mum.
“We would always advise adopting over buying a pet but those with their hearts set on buying a puppy should do their research and make sure they are buying from a responsible breeder.
“Although you may have to wait slightly longer, you will be getting a happy and healthy dog.
“Puppies are not presents and buying one should not be decided on a whim.
“The only reason that these dealers are able to operate is because of the demand for puppies. Puppies and their parents are suffering and dying due to this industry. We now need the public to act responsibly and not contribute to this appalling trade.”
Any concerns over the low-welfare puppy trade should be reported to the Scottish SPCA confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.