Northern Ireland

Puppy trafficking: Newtownabbey man speaks out over illegal dog breeders after puppy death

Pomeranian puppy
Image caption Mr Bremner said the Pomeranian puppy was younger than the seller told him and had signs of mistreatment

A Newtownabbey man has spoken of his anger after finding out a puppy, that died shortly after he bought it, had come from an illegal puppy farm.

Sammy Bremner said the dog, that he bought in a car park, died a few days after he took it home.

The USPCA said the illegal cross-border trafficking of dogs is a major issue.

It has launched a campaign to warn the public over the growing trade in puppies by illegal breeders.

The organisation has published guidelines for new owners to guard against buying dogs from illegal sources.


Mr Bremner said that the Pomeranian puppy's death had "really angered" and upset him.

He said it was younger than the seller told him and had signs of mistreatment.

"The wee thing had suffered and was taken away from its mother long before it was due to be taken away all because these boys wanted to make a quick buck."

He said that his sister had organised the purchase of the puppy after seeing it advertised online.

Mr Bremner said he spoke to the seller, who said he was based in Letterkenny, County Donegal, and was prepared to drive there to collect the dog.

However, the seller told him his brother could meet him in Magherafelt, County Londonderry, with the puppy.

They arranged to meet at a car park near the town.

Mr Bremner said: "When he arrived, he has this wee sort of ball of fluff in his hands.

"I thought it was dead at first, and said there's something wrong with it.

"It was all wet down it's front and didn't look well.

"But the man said it's just been sick in the car and that it was a wee bit dehydrated.


"I asked him how old the dog was and he said nine weeks. He also said the dog hadn't been checked by a vet yet."

Mr Bremner paid £245 for the puppy and said the man told him he could have got £800 if he "went over to England".

He took the dog back to his sister, but two days later the puppy became extremely ill.

"The vet told us the dog was only five weeks old and should still be with its mother," he said.

"She also said it looked like it hadn't been treated very well, that it was very dehydrated and very skinny."

Mr Bremner said the dog rallied over the next couple of days but soon became ill again.

"My sister rang me and said the puppy was dying," he said. "She had the puppy on a pillow on her lap and she was stroking it and talking to it.

"Half an hour later it lifted it's wee head and started howling.

"I ended up crying and anger was building up in me.


"Then its howling started getting lower and lower and the head fell down and it was gone."

Colleen Dowdall, from the USPCA, said that puppy trafficking and illegal breeding were growing problems.

"Designer puppies are changing hands for hundreds of pounds out of car boots in car parks and lay-bys all over the country."

She added that there was "little or no thought given to how they were bred, what vaccinations they have or the consequences of buying a sick dog".

"Many of these puppies are 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.

"Owners have to be responsible and take some very obvious steps to ensure the health of their puppy and the safety of their family."

More on this story