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Be alert when giving your canine friend a ‘pawsome’ new home this Christmas



Former DAERA Minister Edwin Poots and Brendan Mullan, CEO USPCA, are appealing to the public to be alert in the run-up to Christmas to the illegal trade in low welfare pups.


As Christmas approaches, many people in Northern Ireland will be thinking about introducing a new canine friend into their family. DAERA and the USPCA are alerting potential buyers to the cruel trade in low welfare pups bred in horrendous conditions in illegal breeding establishments known as ‘puppy farms' and signposting to the guidance available from both organisations for those thinking of buying a pup.



The former Minister said: 


“I am delighted this year to raise public awareness of the cruel and abhorrent trade in low welfare pups along with the USPCA.  It is critically important that anyone considering buying a puppy is aware of the pitfalls in respect of not buying from legitimate dog breeders and unintentionally supporting this cruel and illegal trade which exploits pets and causes them terrible suffering.


“My Department works along with other statutory enforcement agencies in delivering the Paws For Thought Campaign and I would urge potential buyers to check the guidance available online before commencing to contact any sellers. 



"Whilst the enforcement activities undertaken by statutory agencies is critical in detecting and deterring the illegal trade in low welfare pups, it is only with the public’s help that we can finally stamp out this abhorrent trade.


“Anyone encountering anything suspicious, or with information about persons possibly involved in the illegal breeding and sale of pups can report their concerns at: pawsforthought@daera-ni.gov.uk."


USPCA Chief Executive Brendan Mullan warns the public to beware of the cruel puppy trade this Christmas and to avoid these illegal breeders at all costs.


He said:


“Christmas is a time of rich pickings for the unregistered illegal puppy farmers and dog dealers. Motivated only by money they breed dogs in appalling conditions. The public would be truly shocked at the way in which many of these dogs are bred, the exploitation of the over bred bitches, the cramped and disease prone conditions in which puppies are hawked from breeder to dealer, the absence of proper veterinary care and the only guarantee you get is one of ongoing expense and heartache."



Brendan also appealed to the public to think long and hard before deciding to get an animal this Christmas: 


“A pet is a companion, not a toy and is a lifelong commitment. We do not encourage getting a puppy or indeed any animal for Christmas.


“If you have seriously considered getting a pet, we recommend you wait until after Christmas and then adopt from some of the many rescue centres and shelters throughout Northern Ireland.”



Guidance on purchasing or rehoming a puppy can be found at NI Direct - Guidance on purchasing or rehoming a pup and at the USPCA Website.


Further information on the Paws For Thought Campaign can be accessed at Paws for Thought.