South Scotland

Cairnryan port puppy trafficking powers extension sought

Stena harbour Image copyright Stena Line
Image caption The council is seeking to extend powers at Cairnryan for another 12 months

A council is seeking to further extend powers which have seen dozens of puppies seized at the port of Cairnryan in a project to tackle trafficking.

The scheme started last year after concerns raised by the BBC Scotland programme The Dog Factory.

A pilot project was extended to run to November this year and it is now hoped to continue it for another 12 months.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is also proposing additional measures to try to tackle the trade.

Last year, the BBC programme found evidence of dogs being shipped from illegal puppy farms in Northern Ireland which were then sold by online sellers as animals bred in Scotland.

The animals were being transported through the south of Scotland port.

Trusted traders

Under the pilot scheme, Scottish SPCA investigators were using new powers to stop and search the vehicles of those it suspected of illegally trafficking puppies.

Dumfries and Galloway Council agreed to extend the powers given to Scottish SPCA officers for another year last year and is now seeking another 12-month extension.

Additional measures to address the issue are also being proposed including expanding a trusted trader scheme to include licensed dog breeders.

Prior to the pilot scheme, Scottish SPCA inspectors could attend the port but were sometimes unable to use their powers under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act if there were no visible welfare issues.

However, the council has now authorised a number of them to use its powers to detain, return or destroy puppies under the Trade in Animals and Related Products (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (TARPS).

It is that authorisation which the council is hoping to extend for another 12 months.

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