Police investigating the alleged illegal import of animals into Northern Ireland from the south have seized 57 puppies, three adult dogs and a cat.
The 44-year-old man was arrested after the operation at Belfast Harbour.
Detectives believe the animals may have been brought to Northern Ireland from the Republic and were intended to be sold in England or Scotland.
PSNI Detective Inspector Conor Sweeney said: “The man was arrested on suspicion of a range of offenses including fraud by misrepresentation and possession of items for use in fraud.
“A lot of cash was also confiscated.
“He remains in custody and is helping with ongoing investigations.”
The confiscated puppies are of a variety of breeds, including a golden retriever, cockapoo, miniature terrier, French bulldog, American bulldog, cocker spaniel, dachshund, and roan spaniel.
You will be examined by a veterinarian.
Mr Sweeney added: “We suspect many of the dogs were illegally imported into Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland for resale within England and Scotland.
“Police are determined to fight the smuggling of illegal goods through Northern Ireland ports.
“The recent seizures by the organized crime unit relate to illegal drugs.
“But as this operation has shown, drugs are not the only items being trafficked.
“Smuggling is often carried out by sophisticated cross-border organized crime groups.
“Such groups will not discriminate against the goods being smuggled – be it drugs, cigarettes, people or in this case animals.
“I use the word commodity because that’s how crime gangs see the people and animals they smuggle – as nothing more than commodities to line their own pockets with.
“Those involved in puppy smuggling do not care about the horrific impact this type of criminal activity can have on both the animals and the victims who innocently buy them as family pets.
“If anyone has information about illegal activity, please call the police on 101.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/police-seize-57-puppies-destined-to-be-smuggled-for-sale-in-england-and-scotland-41888176.html Police seize 57 puppies to be smuggled to England and Scotland for sale