A man from Ireland has been handed a £350 fine and two-year ban on keeping or handling animals following a Scottish SPCA investigation.
57-year-old Michael McDonagh of Hunters Crescent, Omagh, Northern Ireland, pled guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to three puppies by failing to provide veterinary treatment for campylobacter, giardia and worm burden.
A Scottish SPCA special investigations officer, said, “We have seen a substantial rise in the number of puppies being transported from Ireland by low-welfare dealers to sell at a high cost in Scotland.
“In 2019 we received a call to our helpline from someone who had responded to a Gumtree online advert for a puppy. The pup was advertised as being healthy, three months old, and fully vaccinated. The advert did not mention microchipping, worming or flea treatment.
“The puppy was priced at £480, and the seller claimed to be a woman based in Stirling.
“When the member of the public contacted the number provided on the advert, it was a male with an Irish accent who answered.
“They were told that the puppy was microchipped and that they would be able to meet the mother.
“The seller claimed it would be too difficult to find his house so agreed to meet the buyer with the puppy in a Tesco supermarket car park.
“The seller was revealed as McDonagh on meeting, and he showed the pup’s vaccination card.
“He also claimed the mum of the pups had gone for a walk so couldn’t be seen.
“It was observed that the puppy did not move or display any typical puppy behaviour. The pup was shedding, had a strong odour and a distended abdomen.
“McDonagh advised the puppy was eight weeks old not three months as the advert had listed.
“After receiving this report to our helpline, the next day we contacted McDonagh posing as a potential buyer, and he volunteered to meet us at another Tesco supermarket car park.
“McDonagh was cautioned and we had immediate concerns for the welfare and health of the puppy, who had a very hard bloated belly.
“McDonagh claimed he had no other puppies and that his van door was broken. When his van was searched this opened with no problem and a further two puppies were found inside cages.
“They both appeared to be in poor body condition. One was very small with a solid and largely distended abdomen. The other was very thin and had a distended abdomen, extremely matted fur, was covered in faeces and had a strong odour.
“The puppies were seized and taken for immediate veterinary attention.
“Two out of the three puppies were found to be underweight and malnourished, and it was unlikely that they had been wormed. It was further found that they were suffering from campylobacter and giardia.
“Dogs can contract giardia or campylobacter by swallowing water or food that is contaminated with faeces.
“Both of these diseases are life-threatening to puppies if they are not treated and can be common in pups raised in the low-welfare trade due to the poor conditions they are kept in.
“All three puppies also had a high worm burden. There was no proof of vaccination so this status was unknown.
“The degree of malnourishment and worm burden in these pups, along with the serious diseases they contracted, could have been prevented by the seller seeking the veterinary treatment they needed.
“We are pleased that McDonagh received a fine but would have hoped he would have been given a lengthier ban.
“If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”