DSPCA urges action on illegal puppy smuggling
The DSPCA is urging people to report illegal puppy smuggling, saying dogs are seized at least once a week at Dublin Port.
Gillian Bird of the animal welfare group is calling on the public to report suspicious activity to the DSPCA or to the gardaí.
"On the DSPCA website, there's an online reporting form which makes reporting anonymous," she told Newstalk.
"If you see a suspicious vehicle, get the registration and contact the DSCPA or the local guards and let them know as much as possible."
The group is hosting a conference which will examine puppy exporting and the problems it causes.
Illegal dog breeding has also grown to an industrial scale in Ireland, with head of the DSPCA Brian Gillen branding Ireland "the puppy farm capital of Europe" earlier this week.
"Our aim is to put them out of business", he said, "The we interrupt their trade, the more it hits them where it hurts: in their pockets. We want to make it uneconomic for them to continue."
It is reported that industry involves at least 30,000 puppies a year, worth up to €20 million. Seven intelligence-led seizures at Irish ports over the past two months alone have yielded 150 puppies.
Campaigners say the vast majority of smuggled puppies continue to escape detection. Prosecutions are rare and to date, nobody has been jailed for smuggling offences.
Official figures show there are 73 registered puppy farms in the Republic of Ireland producing at least 30,00 dogs a year. In contrast, 895 establishments in Britain produce around 70,000 puppies.
"There is little doubt that celebrity culture combined with the instant gratification enabled by the internet is fuelling this horrible trade," said David Wilson, spokesman for the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Northern Ireland.
Eighteen dogs and puppies were seized by gardaí in Dublin Port two days ago, making it the third seizure in six days.