Cllr Flynn said “I welcome the news today that over 60 animals have been rescued at Belfast port and taken into care and want to commend our animal welfare teams, as well as the police and all other organisations involved in operation Delphin across the UK & Ireland.”

“The scale of the puppy farming industry on the island of Ireland is enormous, and this seizure today gives a small insight into the motivations of those responsible.”

“Licensed industrial puppy breeders as well as legal breeders are both involved in ruthlessly exploiting dogs and cats for profit, causing misery not just to the animals but to the unsuspecting public who are often left with a sick or dying pup.”

“The dogs that have been seized would be worth thousands of pounds in the GB market and barely scratches the surface of the scale of the problem”

“Previous executive ministers with responsibility for animal welfare have failed to address concerns of animal welfare charities and have not produced adequate legislation, such as lucys law or new regulations to deal with the online selling of pups. Green councillors in two local councils have previously raised concerns and been sold empty promises.”

Cllr Flynn concluded “We need more resources put into our local animal welfare teams so that they have the appropriate tools to carry out this important work and to put a stop to this callous industry, these decisions lie with the DEARA minister.”