MLA backs USPCA report on NI Puppy Trade

East Londonderry MLA, Claire Sugden, has backed the launch of a report which exposes Northern Ireland’s multi-million pound puppy trade.

Pictured at the launch of the report is MLA Robin Newton, Dr Marc Abraham OBE, MLA Claire Sugden, and USPCA Chief Executive, Brendan Mullan

Launched by the USPCA at a Stormont event on October 20, the report entitled ‘Puppy Dog Fortunes’ provides an insight into the operations of legal breeders, illegal breeders, transporters, and third-party sellers, all of whom are desperate to cash in on the multi-million-pound industry at the expense of defenceless companion animals.

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The USPCA said: “The report calls for enhanced regulation and better enforcement action to address the serious issues and loopholes currently being exploited by individuals involved in the trade. In the last two years alone, the industry’s scale has rocketed, with the report citing Covid-19 as ‘fanning the flames’ on the demand for pups, with average prices reaching £2,000 each.”

Claire Sugden MLA, who sits on Stormont’s All Party Group on Animal Welfare, said: “The numbers associated with the illegal breeding and sale of puppies in Northern Ireland is truly shocking. Adequate legislation must be in place to ensure dogs are bred, cared for and sold to the highest welfare standards possible – the adoption of Lucy’s Law here would be a great place to start and bring us in line with the rest of the UK so that no legal loopholes exist for unscrupulous breeders.

“We’re a nation of dog lovers, but many of us are unaware of what goes on behind the scenes of this multi-million-pound-a-year industry. We must have laws that reflect our love of dogs, laws that are policed and enforced so that these animals are treated with care, humanity and respect.”