Task force targets criminals linked to dog breeding
Stock image 2:30 AM
Detectives from the Garda Crime Task Force are investigating a new network of criminals they believe are linked to illegal dog breeding in the country, a senior police officer has said.
It has also emerged dozens of dogs are being imported into Dublin from eastern Europe, with many being placed in vans with limited access to food and water and then driven for miles. In some cases dogs are being deliberately hidden in vehicles so as not to raise suspicion.
The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has described the significant number of dogs passing through Dublin Port as a “worrying trend” and cites concerns over suitable transportation as one of the organisation’s main problems.
While most people have all necessary documentation, some are “escaping through the cracks”.
Two vans were spotted at Dublin Port last month that were believed to have originated in eastern Europe with more than 10 dogs stuck inside small cages in the back. In another case, a number of dogs were discovered in the back of a van in cramped conditions sitting among large amounts of faeces and waste.
With animal lovers looking for pets during lockdown, criminals are taking advantage of Covid-19 restrictions, said Garda Sergeant Conor Scully. Last week his officers rescued 32 dogs and dismantled an alleged illegal puppy farm at a halting site in north Dublin where they discovered chihuahuas, Jack Russells and pugs worth around €150,000.
“We are targeting serious criminality and have seen that some people are getting involved in puppy farms because they believe there is a lot of money to be made,” said Sgt Scully. “If you buy one of these dogs you’re funding criminality, which seems to be an emerging operation here.”
The ISPCA’s chief inspector Conor Dowling said the “repercussions” of the current demand in buying dogs is something the general public “should be mindful of” and he also warned of the dangers posed by Brexit, saying: “There is some speculation people could move dogs from Dublin up to the North and on to Britain to avoid formalities if that comes into play.”