More than 60 dogs, including two that were pregnant, have been rescued in a raid on a suspected puppy farm.
Inspectors from the Scottish SPCA carried out the raid in a joint operation with police and Moray Council after concerns were raised about animals at a property in the area.
The council’s trading standards officers took action after they spotted several similar adverts of puppies for sale on the website Gumtree, which raised suspicions.
The dogs, many showing signs of disease and infection, are now being cared for by the Scottish SPCA’s dedicated animal care teams.
Sixty dogs were seized during the initial raid – however, two were pregnant at the time and the charity is now caring for 78 dogs.
Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive of the Scottish SPCA, said: “Sadly, many of the dogs we’ve taken are showing signs of disease and infection consistent with intensive breeding.
“Our animal care and veterinary experts have been selflessly working around the clock to provide care for these poor animals since the raid. Whilst it is an immense challenge, the main thing is these dogs are all receiving an amazing amount of love and care.
“It costs an average of £15 per day to care for a single dog, but money is no object now these dogs are in a safe place. Many of these dogs need ongoing veterinary care and we are going through a lot of food and supplies for the puppies. Any support members of the public can provide is most welcome.
“We cannot comment further on the specific details of this case as it is a live investigation.”
There have been no arrests so far and the investigation is continuing following the raid on September 19.
The local authority said the multi-agency approach taken by Moray Council, the Scottish SPCA and Police Scotland was vital.
A council spokesman said: “Our officers’ remit is to deal with consumer protection – however, a situation like this throws up many issues which requires the expertise of different agencies.
“I’m pleased that through collaborative working, we’ve been able to safeguard the welfare of the puppies and stop future customers from being exploited.
“The puppies are now in the experienced and able hands of the Scottish SPCA.”
The Scottish SPCA is now urgently appealing for Royal Canin puppy milk and cotton pads for toileting and cleaning puppies.
Anyone who is able to help can buy these items through the charity’s Amazon wishlist, or drop supplies in to their nearest centre or the Scottish SPCA’s headquarters in Dunfermline.
The Scottish SPCA spearhead Operation Delphin, a multi-agency taskforce designed to bring illegal puppy traders to justice.