Report Cruelty | Tel: 1890 515 515 (Callers from outside of Republic of Ireland should use +353 43 33 25035) | Contact Us

News Sections

ISPCA calls for a crackdown on illegal behaviour by puppy farmers after 20 puppies were seized

ISPCA calls for a crackdown on illegal behaviour by puppy farmers after twenty puppies were seized at Cairnryan Ferry Port in Scotland and returned to Ireland

The ISPCA is looking for homes for twenty tiny puppies that were seized from the boot of a car in Cairnryan ferry port in Scotland recently. The puppies were all too young to travel, were not accompanied by pet passports and although microchipped were not registered on an approved database as required under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations.  The puppies were seized by the Scottish SPCA as part of Operation Delphin* which is targeting the illegal trade in puppies from Ireland to the UK and were returned to Ireland where they originated from.

The rescued puppies, aged from 4 – 8 weeks old, including Shih Tzu’s, Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pugs and Cocker Spaniels were transported to the ISPCA’s National Animal Centre in Longford, where they received a full veterinary examination.  The Shih Tzu puppies were estimated to be between 4-6 weeks old, too young to be separated from their mother and had to be hand fed by ISPCA staff.

ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said:  “I would like to thank Police Scotland, Stenaline and Customs officials in Cairnryan and Belfast for their swift action in this case. This was a horrific way to transport these vulnerable puppies and the person they were seized from had no regard for their welfare.  We do not know exactly where these puppies originated from in Ireland but our investigations are continuing. The ISPCA believes it is time for a crackdown on illegal behaviour by dog breeders in Ireland and is calling on all local authorities to enforce the DBE legislation robustly and to take action where breeders fail to comply. Unfortunately we have seen a lack of consistency in the enforcement of the regulations. In one county a registered breeder licensed for 100 breeding females had over 500 dogs on site when inspected and in another county the ISPCA discovered an unregistered breeder and reported it to the council who simply invited them to register. Our Inspectors have had to deal with a number of dog breeding establishments around the country which simply do not come up the standards required under the legislation. On a positive note, the guidelines associated with the DBE Act are being revised following pressure from the ISPCA but too many local authorities have been turning a blind eye to illegal behaviour.”

An undercover Inspector for the Scottish SPCA said: "Unfortunately the puppy trade is big business in Scotland, with thousands of dogs being brought into the country each year, from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in particular. We are working in partnership with a number of organisations and agencies including the ISPCA to execute Operation Delphin, an operation set up as part of the fight against those involved in this criminal activity. In the case of the puppies being smuggled into Scotland in the boot of a car, we were able to get these poor animals signed over to the ISPCA who can now find them loving new homes. The Scottish SPCA will continue to act on information received to identify those operating in this cruel business and we have seized many dogs and reported a number of people to the Procurator Fiscal since Operation Delphin began. Anyone with concerns about the puppy trading industry in Scotland can call the Scottish SPCA's animal helpline on 03000 999 999. Information is received in strict confidence and can be left anonymously."

In case you missed Dr. Andrew Kelly on The Pat Kenny Show you can listen to the interview here. 

You can also listen to Dr. Andrew Kelly on The Anton Savage Show here. 

Rehoming queries:

All twenty puppies will be spayed/neutered when of age and the ISPCA will be appealing for good, loving homes for them shortly. For more information, please visit, email or call 043 33 25035.

If you suspect an animal is being cruelly treated, neglected or abused, or if you see something suspicious, please contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515 or report online here on the ISPCA website.  In case of an emergency, please contact your local Gardaí.


* Operation Delphin is a joint operation targeting the illegal export of puppies from Ireland to the UK, led by the Scottish SPCA and includes the ISPCA, USPCA, DSPCA, RSPCA, HMRC, Irish Customs, UK Customs & Excise Stena Line and Other agencies.

  • Dog breeding in Ireland is regulated by the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010. All breeders with 6 or more female dogs of 6 months of age and capable of breeding must be registered with the local authority.
  • Since 1st June 2015, all puppies must be microchipped and registered on an approved database under the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015.

  • Under the Balai Directive, where puppies are being exported for commercial purposes, they must be vaccinated against rabies and be accompanied by a pet passport. Effectively this means that puppies must be 15 weeks of age to travel.

Viewed 29159 times.

Share This Story