TWO men have been arrested after Police rescued 31 dogs, including puppies, as part of a proactive operation in Coalisland on Thursday.
Over 60 officers from the PSNI’s Dungannon Neighbour
hood Team, Tactical Support Group, District Support Team, Dog Section, Air Support and Search Advisors carried out simultaneous searches on five properties connected to suspected fraud offences over the sale of puppies across Mid-Ulster.
The operation was the latest stage of a major investigation into organised crime in the area, which has been ongoing for several months.
The men, aged 43 and 42, were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation. Both have subsequently been bailed pending further enquiries.
A large amount of documents, items and cash were also seized during the searches.
Inspector Joanne Gibson said the joint operation, conducted by the PSNI with partner agencies, has ensured “further people do not fall victim to buying puppies in these circumstances”.
“Buying puppies from illegal breeders can have devastating results,” she continued.
“Often these puppies die a short time after purchase or end up with infectious diseases such as Parvovirus which is expensive to treat and often fatal.
“They can also suffer behavioural issues relating to fear and anxiety due to poor or no socialisation.
“It can be tempting to buy a puppy in these circumstances and often purchasers recognise things are not quite right. It is normal to want to ‘rescue’ a puppy in these circumstances but people must remember they are fuelling and supporting what is a particularly lucrative criminal industry.”
Insp Gibson appealed to anyone who may have purchased a puppy from the Mid-Ulster area over the last six months, to contact Police on 101 quoting reference number 915 05/12/19.
“If any of these animals have tragically passed away, we would ask owners to contact Police to assist with our ongoing investigation,” she added.
“We would urge members of the local community to be alert and vigilant of any suspicious activity involving the sale of puppies.
“If you believe you have knowledge of an illegal breeding establishment in operation then please contact your local council dog warden for Mid-Ulster District Council.”