RSPCA fears cruel conditions of £ 300,000 puppy smuggling scam is just the tip of the iceberg


The puppies and dogs sold by a callous Irish gang were kept in horrific conditions before being sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

Embers from an Armagh-based family were among eight men and five women recently convicted in the UK for their role in the £ 300,000 puppy smuggling ring.

Now, members of the RSPCA have revealed the sordid environment the puppies were raised and kept in.

Some of the desperate animals had tried to gnaw at the floors and walls in a heartbreaking attempt to escape.

Inspector Michelle Hare said the operation against the gang began after a series of complaints from people whose recently purchased puppies fell ill or died.


The dogs were sick, in pain and so stressed that they tried to chew on the floors.

The dogs were sick, in pain and so stressed that they tried to chew on the ground.

She arrived at the site where the animals were kept after being stopped by the police. “As I walked over to the site it was clear that there were a huge number of dogs and puppies present,” she said.

“Apart from a few dogs running free on the site, the others were housed in truck bodies and storage containers located on the site.

“Some had untreated health issues including fur loss, ear infections and dental disease, and all were in totally inappropriate environments.

“The trailers had been divided into pens and all the dogs were kept in poor condition. The kennels were dirty and smelled strongly of ammonia, while one of the pens was full of dangers including protruding nails, wire mesh sharp metal and wires hanging down.

“There were holes in the walls and floor that looked like they had been caused by dogs trying to chew up the space.

“We removed four pregnant bitches and one poodle cross that had just given birth, and five poodle cross puppies that were only 48 hours old.

“Police seized 54 dogs and four litters of puppies were born into our care.”


The gang sold dying dogs to unsuspecting customers.

The gang sold dying dogs to unsuspecting customers.

The gang sold dying dogs to unsuspecting customers.

The inspector also found empty vaccination vials and needles, as well as flea and deworming products, a stack of blank vaccination sheets that matched those victims received when purchasing puppies.

CCTV footage was obtained showing one of the gang members delivering puppies.

The RSPCA also received reports that the gang were importing puppies from Ireland for sale through prominent men placing ads online.

The Milton Keynes site was raided in November last year.

“The three youngest puppies were in a dark, cold enclosure and they could only see four solid walls. The water was dirty and the litter smelled strongly of urine. The environment was totally unsuitable, ”said Inspector Hare.

Ian Briggs, chief inspector of the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said the case is typical of the illicit trade that “exploded” during the outbreak.

Irish breeders are supplying people with dogs to be smuggled into the UK, where breeds such as the Cockapoo can sell for £ 4,000. Another gang, disbanded by the RSPCA, imported 90 dogs every fortnight from Ireland.

Unfortunately, many puppies don’t get the care they need early in life after being separated from their mothers too soon by gangs eager to take advantage of their “cutie.”

They can end up costing new owners thousands of dollars in vet and kennel fees.

In this week’s episode of Sunday World’s Crime World podcast, Briggs talks about how the illegal puppy market is worth millions every year and attracting serious criminal gangs.

Working closely with Dublin SCPA, they have intercepted numerous dogs but fear this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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