SSPCA puppy powers could be extended at Cairnryan port

Puppies seized by the SPCA from the boot of a car at Cairnryan in June 2016.
Puppies seized by the SPCA from the boot of a car at Cairnryan in June 2016.

A project to combat the illegal puppy trade between the UK and Ireland could be extended for another year.

Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee will meet on September 12 to discuss the progress of this project to date and to decide whether it should be continued for a further 12 months.

The SSPCA’s authorisations were extended for 12 months by Members of EEI Committee in November 2016, if Members of this Committee agree, then these powers could be extended until November 2018.

This would allow additional measures to be developed in tandem with this project, such as a public register of licensed breeders and the extension of the council’s established Trusted Trader scheme to include these and licensed dog boarders.

The pilot of the project was run between January and November 2016. By September officers had stopped seven people at Cairnryan who were found to be in possession of a total of 140 illicit puppies. Since September last year a further 32 vehicles have been stopped by Police Scotland and 47 individuals questioned.

Evidence showed 261 puppies travelling through the port during this time.

Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Chair of EEI Committee said: “Puppy trafficking is a terrible trade, both for the dogs concerned and for the consumers who purchase them. By working in partnership with other agencies including SSPCA and Police Scotland we can be more effective in disrupting this trade. Owning a dog can be such a positive and rewarding experience, but it is increasingly difficult for people to know if the puppy they are buying is not only legitimate, but healthy.”