Illegal puppy trade pushes up charity’s seizure rate

Welfare charity the Scottish SPCA reports 44% increase in animals seized as a result of cruelty investigations conducted throughout 2017.

A 44% increase in animals seized as a result of animal cruelty investigations in Scotland has been reported by the Scottish SPCA.
Scotland’s animal welfare charity also revealed almost half of the record 302 animals taken into care by its inspectors, following cases submitted to the Crown Office, in 2017 were victims of the illegal puppy trade.
Chief executive Kirsteen Campbell said: “Overall, 52 people were banned from owning animals last year following our investigations. That’s an average of one every week, with many of these animals having suffered in the most appalling conditions.
“The illegal puppy trade remains a major concern, with 143 of the record 302 animals seized by our inspectors and undercover special investigations unit last year rescued from dealers who treat dogs as nothing more than commodities.
“Furthermore, we prevented an additional 75 puppies involved in the illegal puppy trade entering Scotland via Cairnryan Port from Ireland. We work closely with our sister organisation, the Irish SPCA, to ensure these pups receive the highest possible care and are happily rehomed in Ireland.
“This situation simply cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we have welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase potential penalties for animal welfare offences, to tackle illegal puppy dealing and license animal sanctuaries.”
The charity has called for court cases involving animals held as evidence while their owners await any further action to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Mrs Cambell said: “Animal cruelty cases can often take years to be heard in court. This is a real issue – we had more than 1,000 animals in our care in 2017 with no home to go to because their owners had not yet faced trial.
“First and foremost, this is not good for animal welfare; it is also entirely at our expense and we would like to see these types of cases being heard in court sooner.”