The trio were cared for at the centre after a number of litters were seized at the port, with puppies being taken into the care of local dog rescues across Mid-Antrim.
Originally four puppies were brought to the Ballymena Rehoming Centre by authorities, and were named Neo, Asher, April and Daffy by staff there. However, after receiving an initial vet check-up, they were found to have contracted parvovirus and despite best efforts by the team to help her, April sadly passed away.
Conor O’Kane, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Ballymena said: “When they arrived, we could tell they had been through a traumatic experience and that something was wrong. We had them immediately checked over by a vet and after it was confirmed they had parvovirus; they began treatment but unfortunately nothing could be done for April.
“We believe they were under the age of eight weeks which is too young to be taken away from their mum or to undertake such significant travel. After around four weeks of treatment, Asher, Daffy and Neo received a clean bill of health; during that time, they had relaxed more and really started to come out of their shells.
“It wasn’t long before we were able to find them new owners prepared to give them all the love and care they need to live happy lives, despite their difficult start in life.”
Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust, said: “An ongoing and very serious issue that faces dogs and potential owners is the illegal trade of puppies. Alongside other animal welfare organisations in Northern Ireland, we have been campaigning for stronger and better enforcement of dog breeding regulations.
“It is important that an improved, robust licensing system is developed in Northern Ireland in order to tackle unscrupulous breeders and sellers, alongside effective inspection of licenced breeders to ensure the welfare of dogs. As well as requiring every dog breeder to be registered or licensed, these credentials should be a legal requirement on any advertising that promotes the sale of dogs.”
Every year puppies are illegally imported into Great Britain and mis-sold via online ads to unsuspecting dog lovers who think they are getting a healthy, happy home-bred puppy. Dogs Trust is urging potential dog owners to follow the charity’s responsible purchasing advice when getting a puppy which includes:
*Potential owners should always call the puppy seller beforehand and should never make any payment in advance of seeing or meeting their new pet *If, for whatever reason, something doesn’t feel right or you feel pressured into buying when you see or visit them, do not proceed and report to Trading Standards
For more information, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale