Cops have busted a suspected illegal puppy breeding operation worth £80,000.
London’s Metropolitan Police raided a property in Hounslow, west London, and seized 12 dogs as part of a long-running investigation, in a dawn raid.
The operation last Thursday was conducted with Hounslow Council’s Animal Control team, and charity Animal Protection Services.
All dogs have been moved to safety where they will be cared for while the investigation into the case continues.
Animal Protection Services have also launched an investigation into alleged ear-cropping, which is illegal in the UK.
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The charity said: “We are working on a national level at detecting and prosecuting criminals involved in ear cropping as part of Operation Predator. We cannot comment any further on this live investigation due to the risk that it may prejudice any potential prosecution.”
Katherine Dunne, Hounslow’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency, said: “We’re proud of the multiagency work we’re doing to uphold animal rights in the borough.
“We hope today’s intervention to investigate alleged offences will help prevent further harm being committed against animals.
“We want to send a clear message today: if evidence emerges of any individual committing offences against animals in the borough, we will work with our partners to take action.
“As a Council we’re committed to building a humane society, where people and animals can flourish, and where the highest of our ideals are lived out in our daily lives.
“I want to pay a special tribute to the Animal Protection Services charity, Met Police, and Hounslow Council’s Animal Control team whose work on this investigation has been second to none.”
The Mirror told last week how organised crime gangs are turning from selling drugs to puppies because it’s easier to evade the law.
The lockdown has seen an unprecedented demand in puppies with illegal breeders setting up operations up and down the country.
The situation has got so bad that charity Animal Protection Services say hardened criminals are now determined to cash in on the surge in puppy popularity.
A charity spokesman said: “Many groups are switching from drugs to puppies because there is so little enforcement.”
As a result Animal Protection Services are taking matters into their own hands by launching their own private criminal prosecutions.