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illegal trade

18 pups found in car boot at Dublin Port, one fighting for his life

The DSPCA said Ireland is the puppy farm capital of Europe.

A CUSTOMS SEARCH dog discovered 18 puppies in a car boot at Dublin Port yesterday.

The pups are in a very bad condition, with one fighting for its life, said Brian Gillen of the DSPCA.

During a routine check, the Customs dog, called Meg, who patrols Dublin Port for drugs and cash, detected the dogs in a car.

The animals involved were being transported in a car with very poor ventilation and had no accompanying paperwork.

Very poor condition 

“Three are quite poorly, one is on a drip and fighting for his life,” Gillen said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

All 18 puppies are valuable, designer breeds such as Shih Tzus and Pomeranians.


“They are worth more in the UK than here,” said Gillen.

It’s all about the money. Ireland is the puppy farm capital of the Europe in terms of the number of pups we export to the UK.

In total, there are about 7,000-8,000 pups sold to Britain every year. The DSPCA estimates the Irish puppy industry accounts for about 10% of that figure.

Gillen said puppies are often illegally exported to the UK and sold as UK-origin pups.

Illegal puppy trade 

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, confirmed that his own officials and customs officers had been engaged in joint operation in recent times at ports with a view to stamping out the illegal puppy trade.

Minister Coveney added that European Union rules regulating movement of dogs and pups must be adhered to in all circumstances.

WP_20160112_11_55_49_Pro DSPCA DSPCA

Pups and dogs exiting the country must be accompanied by a pet passport to show that they are identified by a microchip and are immunised against rabies. Dogs being moved out of the country for sale or change of ownership must be accompanied by an official health certificate showing that they come from a holding or business registered with the department.

Dogs must also be seen by their vet within 48 hours of departure, to confirm that they show no signs of diseases and are fit to be transported.

Gillen said these new laws, introduced in 2014, are to be welcomed, however, many people are trying to circumvent the laws by exporting them illegally.

The future of the pups found at Dublin Port yesterday are being discussed today with the Department of Agriculture. The DSPCA said their immediate concern is getting the pups back to full health so they can be rehomed.

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