SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly has called for a crackdown on the North’s puppy black-market.
She was speaking after a BBC Spotlight programme revealed thousands of dogs were being moved from the South into Northern Ireland and on to Britain.
It said those involved were making millions selling puppies on the black-market, with some of the animals being sold having health issues.
The Upper Bann MLA said:
“We need to see a crackdown on the people involved in this illicit enterprise on both sides of the border. These revelations were highly distressing for animal lovers across the North, myself included, and people cannot continue to be allowed to make huge profits from this black-market trade, safe in the knowledge that they face minimal penalties.
“There has been a huge demand for dogs during the coronavirus pandemic, with people spending more time at home with their families as a result of the lockdown restrictions. I would urge anyone who wants a dog to only go through reputable channels with references or to visit your local animal shelter. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. A drop in business combined with tougher punishment for those involved would do much to discourage those involved.
“The wide-scale moving of animals from the South into the North again highlights the need to progress the SDLP’s all-island animal cruelty register which would ban offenders from keeping or selling animals. I would encourage everyone to sign our petition and keep the pressure on the DAERA and Justice Ministers to introduce the register as soon as possible. These revelations show the importance of the register to protect animals and those buying them.”
The SDLP’s animal cruelty register petition can be found at https://www.sdlp.ie/crueltyregister