Seven puppies have been rescued at Fishguard Port in the early hours of Thursday morning (23 November), as part of a multi-agency operation tackling illegal animal importation.

RSPCA Cymru deputy chief inspector Julie Fadden and ISPCA Care Assistant Neil LeonardThe puppies – two foxhound type and five cocker spaniel type dogs – were found in two crates in the boot of a car that came off the Rosslare to Fishguard ferry at around 1.30am, which had been delayed by four hours.

The two foxhound type are believed to be 10 weeks old and the cocker spaniel type dogs around eight weeks old and were subject to welfare concerns.

The driver of the vehicle was told that the puppies were not able to continue their journey and subsequently signed over the puppies to the care of the RSPCA.

Chief Inspector Ian Briggs, of RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “Our priority was the welfare of the puppies, and in conjunction with other agencies investigations will continue.

“The RSPCA is delighted to be able to work so closely with a number of partner agencies to target puppy dealers, and their involvement with us demonstrates the importance of working together in the interests of animal welfare. We are hugely grateful to the commitment they have shown towards this critical issue.

“We believe thousands of unsuspecting buyers purchase puppies who have been imported in shocking conditions, handing huge profits to unscrupulous traders.”

The seven puppies remained at the port overnight and were fed and watered by the RSPCA. A vet requested by the Animal Health and Welfare officers from Pembrokeshire County Council attended and confirmed they were fit to travel back to the Republic of Ireland.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Julie Fadden accompanied them on the ferry and handed them over on Thursday evening. Stena Line kindly provided free tickets for the journey.

Inspector Fadden said: “The puppies have now been safely taken back to the Republic of Ireland and passed over to the ISPCA, who have kindly taken them into their care.

“They are really friendly and beautiful puppies so I’m sure they will be found forever homes in no time.

“I would like to thank the kindness and generosity of Stena Line who went above and beyond to help us and give the puppies the VIP treatment.”

An ISPCA spokesperson said: “The seven puppies were assessed on Friday morning by a veterinary practitioner at the ISPCA National Animal Centre in Longford.

“The puppies are currently being kept in the ISPCA Isolation unit where they will be carefully monitored. They are not currently available for rehoming but will be added to the rehoming page on the ISPCA website when they are ready for adoption”.

If you wish to help RSPCA Cymru look into incidences such as this, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and rely on public donations.