Northern Ireland

PSNI rescue 31 dogs in illegal puppy sale crackdown

Rescued puppies Image copyright PSNI
Image caption A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was among the dogs rescued by police following the operation in Coalisland

Police have rescued 31 dogs, including puppies, and arrested two men after an operation in County Tyrone.

The operation, which took place in the Coalisland area on Thursday, involved searches of five properties connected to suspected fraud offences over the sale of puppies.

The men, aged 43 and 42, were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

They have been bailed pending further inquiries.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption A cocker spaniel rescued by police in County Tyrone

Insp Joanne Gibson said the joint operation, conducted by the PSNI with partner agencies, ensured "further people do not fall victim to buying puppies in these circumstances".

"Buying puppies from illegal breeders can have devastating results," she added.

"Often these puppies die a short time after purchase or end up with infectious diseases such as parvovirus which is expensive to treat and often fatal.

"They can also suffer behavioural issues relating to fear and anxiety due to poor or no socialisation."

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Puppies were among the dogs rescued in the operation

She added that while it can be "tempting" to buy a puppy from an illegal breeder, and "normal to want to 'rescue' a puppy in these circumstances", people must "remember they are fuelling and supporting what is a particularly lucrative criminal industry".

Insp Gibson appealed to the local community to be "alert and vigilant of any suspicious activity involving the sale of puppies" and contact the police, or local dog warden, if they see anything suspicious.

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