An investigation has been launched after three sick Labrador puppies were abandoned at the side of a road by a suspected puppy dealer in Renfrew.
The stricken animals were found near the junction of Tyree Avenue and Cockles Loan between 3.30pm and 4pm on Tuesday.
They were picked up by a member of the public who said they seen a man carrying puppies under his arm shortly before the discovery.
Another member of the public called the Scottish SPCA to report that they had purchased a similar puppy a few days previously which had died from parvovirus.
The unsuspecting buyer was duped by the seller who claimed their home address was difficult to find and offered to meet them in a public place instead.
The man appeared with two puppies and a bitch which he claimed was the pups’ mother.
The owner told the animal welfare charity that he was then hit with thousands of pounds’ worth of vet bills after trying to save his new dog’s life.
A Scottish SPCA inspector confirmed the microchip from the deceased pet is from the same batch as the chips from the puppies found in Renfrew.
It is suspected the remaining pups were “callously” dumped after the seller discovered they were ill.
The puppies are now at one of the charity’s rescue and rehoming centres receiving the care and treatment they need.
The inspector said: “We suspect these puppies are linked to prolific low-welfare puppy dealers operating in Scotland.
“In the past we have come across similar cases where puppies have been dumped as soon as they’re no longer profitable because they have fallen ill.
“We cannot stress this enough: the supply of badly-bred puppies will only disappear if public demand stops.
“Every year, thousands of pups are dying at just days or weeks old to fuel the trade.
“We will continue to fight the puppy trade every step of the way, but we need each and every person to do their bit to help us stop it.
“There are thousands of adverts on websites like Gumtree for puppies, but there is no guarantee you are buying from a responsible breeder when you shop online.
“Under no circumstances should someone meet a breeder to purchase a puppy or allow a pup to be dropped off.
“Do not accept any excuse, no matter how plausible it seems. These people are master manipulators and will try anything to make you believe they are legitimate and responsible breeders.
“We are urging the public to be vigilant when buying a puppy and not to accept any excuse not to see the puppy with mum.
“We would always advise adopting over buying a pet but those with their hearts set on buying a puppy should do their research and make sure they are buying from a responsible breeder.
“Although you may have to wait slightly longer, you will be getting a happy and healthy dog.
“The Scottish SPCA is dedicated to tackling the illegal puppy trade. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, or is concerned they may have purchased a pup from a low-welfare breeder, they should call our confidential animal helpline.”
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit spearheads Operation Delphin, a multi-agency taskforce designed to bring illegal puppy traders to justice. It is supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council, ISPCA, RSPCA, USPCA, DSPCA, Stena Line, Police Scotland and others.
If anyone has concerns over the low-welfare puppy trade or information on this specific incident it should be reported to our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.