Police and RSPCA raid suspected puppy farm on Sussex traveller site before rescuing five dogs
- It is understood that puppies and dogs were removed from the site this morning
- The traveller site is operated by the Brighton and Hove City Council
- Puppy farms have been illegal since ‘Lucy’s Law’ came into force in Spring 2020
A suspected puppy farm has been raided on a traveller site near Brighton.
Police, trading standards and RSPCA officers joined forces for the operation at the Horsdean Traveller site at 8am on Friday.
Four puppies and a dog were removed from the site.
It comes amid a surge in demand for dogs during the coronavirus pandemic, with some fashionable breeds now selling for double their pre-lockdown price.
This year Lucy’s Law was introduced in a bid to crack down on puppy farms profiting from the ‘low-welfare, high volume supply’ of cats and dogs.
The law is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was rescued from a puppy farm where she was kept in terrible conditions.
The site is suspected of being a puppy farm and it is understood that dogs and puppies were rescued
A new law aimed at cracking down on puppy farms in England, known as Lucy’s Law, came into force in Spring 2020
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: ‘Officers from our trading standards team visited the site alongside Sussex Police as part of an ongoing investigation.’
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: ‘Our officers assisted Trading Standards as warrants were executed at a site near Brighton this morning (Friday 13 November 2020).’
The council-run facility has space for 12 permanent pitches and 21 temporary caravans.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: ‘Our trading standards team is leading an investigation into the illegal sale of a significant number of puppies in the city.
‘This morning the team raided four premises on the Horsdean travellers site in Brighton as well as two other properties.
‘During this operation they were supported by Sussex Police, the RSPCA and the Animal Protection Service. The council is very grateful for their invaluable contributions.
‘Four puppies and a bitch dog were taken as well as a number of electronic devices and documentation in relation to alleged offences under consumer protection legislation and breaching of animal welfare rules regarding dog breeding (Lucy’s Law).
‘The investigation is continuing with a view to prosecuting anyone involved in this illegal and appalling trade.’
A puppy farm is where dogs are continually bred and puppies sold. They are often kept in poor conditions and their health and happiness is not looked after, the RSPCA says.
The St Michael’s Way traveller site is owned and operate by Brighton and Hove City Council
Police along with the RSPCA and trading standards officers raided the site at 8am this morning
A new law aimed at cracking down on puppy farms in England, known as Lucy’s Law, came into force in Spring 2020.
It bans kittens and puppies from being sold by third parties, making buyers deal with breeders directly.
With coronavirus lockdowns, there has been a surge in demand for new puppies.
The RSPCA has warned there could be a ‘dog welfare crisis’ in 2021 after the number of people looking for puppies online soared by 650 per cent.
Chief executive Chris Sherwood said: ‘We have seen a rise in people searching for dogs to adopt during lockdown, which is fantastic, but at the same time, there appears to be a rise in people looking to buy puppies.
‘We know that there are not enough puppies bred in the UK to meet the demands of those who want to buy them and, worryingly, there appears to be a surge in puppies coming in from outside the UK.
‘The problem with this is that, although breeders from countries like Romania are licensed, we have no way of checking the conditions those animals are being kept in and we fear that sales like these could be fuelling cruel puppy farms as well as exposing puppies to long and stressful journeys.’
There has also been a surge in dog thefts in the wake of Covid as organised gangs take advantage of soaring puppy prices.
Designer dogs such as Cockapoos now go for up to £3,500 each whereas before coronavirus you could buy one for about £1,750.
The supply of dogs decreased after a crackdown on puppy farms in April this year.
But dog thefts increased by 65 per cent compared to last year and gangs are thought to be targeting the UK’s most popular breeds which include Labradors, Jack Russells and Cockapoos.