The USPCA launched a major campaign this week to highlight the growing ‘shameful’ trade in designer puppies bought from illegal breeders each year.
The group has provided essential guidelines for new owners to guard against buying dogs that could be diseased and die within weeks.
The campaign comes just one week after Upper Bann MP David Simpson spoke out about the lack of breeders registering with local councils.
Urging dog breeders to register to instil public confidence, he revealed only 10% in the UK are registered, with the ABC Council saying it has only 12 registered breeders.
Colleen Dowdall, USPCA explained that while DARD and the 11 new super Councils have responsibility for animal welfare and are driving forward robust breeder registration and inspection schemes, there is still a major issue with illegal cross border trafficking.
“Designer puppies are changing hands for hundreds of pounds out of car boots in carparks and laybys all over the country with little or no thought given to how they were bred, what vaccinations they have or the consequences of buying a sick dog that could cost thousands of pounds in vet bills if they survive the first few months of life.
“Many of these puppies are being bred in the Republic of Ireland and are trafficked to Northern Ireland and on to Scotland.
“At our Animal Hospital in Newry our Vets see too many sad cases of distraught families with puppies they love come in with disease or genetic abnormalities that cannot be cured.
“The desperation to provide a beautiful companion puppy for a small child or an elderly relative is totally understandable.
“But owners have to be responsible and take some very obvious steps to ensure the health of their puppy and the safety of their family.”
The USPCA Campaign is advising members of the public to take three simple steps when buying a puppy.
Don’t buy pups in carparks, from the back of a car or van.
Always go to the breeder’s premises and ask to see the puppy’s real mother.
Check with your local council to confirm the breeder is licenced.
The USPCA is determined to continue its campaign to disrupt the transportation of illegally farmed puppies and to work jointly with the authorities locally, in Ireland and in Scotland to improve regulation, increase border spot checks and ensure rigorous enforcement of breeding registration and site checks.