Belfast Telegraph

Dogs and puppies seized by PSNI investigating Mid Ulster fraud

One of the dogs seized by the PSNI
One of the dogs seized by the PSNI

By Eimear McGovern

Thirty-one dogs, including some puppies, have been seized by the PSNI after searches at five properties in Coalisland.

Two men aged 43 and 42 were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and later released on bail pending further enquiries following the searches, which were carried out on Thursday and in connection with suspected fraud offences related to the sale of puppies in Mid Ulster.

The dogs seized include a number of Cocker Spaniels and King Charles Cavalier breeds, among others.

Inspector Joanne Gibson said: "This joint operation involving our partner agencies has resulted in disrupting this activity and ensuring that further people do not fall victim to buying puppies in these circumstances.  I would like to thank both the public and our partner agencies for their assistance during the operation.

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Some of the dogs seized by the PSNI

The officer warned of the issues commonly found with animals produced by illegal breeders.

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

"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. 

"It can be tempting to buy a puppy in these circumstances and often purchasers recognise things are not quite right.  It is normal to want to ‘rescue’  a puppy in these circumstances but people must remember they are fuelling and supporting what is a particularly lucrative criminal industry."

Police have appealed for anyone with information or who may have purchased a puppy from the Mid Ulster area over the last six months, to contact officers on 101.

"If any of these animals have tragically passed away, we would ask owners to contact police to assist with our ongoing investigation," said Inspector Gibson.

"We would urge members of the local community to be alert and vigilant of any suspicious activity involving the sale of puppies. 

"If you believe you have knowledge of an illegal breeding establishment in operation then please contact your local Council Dog Warden – for Mid Ulster District Council please ring 03000 132 132 and to report a welfare concern please contact 028 8225 6226 to speak to an Animal Welfare Officer."

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