Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Animal Welfare Officers have saved Christmas for 17 puppies who almost found themselves being smuggled to Scotland.
The dogs were discovered hidden underneath a lorry transporting livestock at Larne Port.
The pups, including Dachshunds, Cock-a-poos and Springer Spaniels, were taken into council’s care.
They have now been rehomed with the assistance of three local charities, Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary, Almost Home and the USPCA.
Mrs Patricia Allen, head of council’s Public Protection, Health and Wellbeing, said: “Deciding whether to get a puppy or dog is a big decision. We recommend that you give the commitment proper thought before buying a puppy.
“We recommend carrying out some research, in particular finding the right dog breed for you, and ensuring you purchase your dog either through a charity or a registered breeder.
“Anyone who decides to get a dog becomes responsible for that animal and will need to know about the legal requirements of owning a dog, including licencing their dog and meeting its welfare needs.”
Council has also been working with DAERA and Belfast City Council in recent weeks to detect more illegal movement of dogs at ports across Northern Ireland.
For more information on what to do when thinking of adding a pet to your family, go to http://www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/buyingapuppy