A MAN convicted of illegally smuggling sheep during the Foot and Mouth crisis was arrested for puppy farming in Scotland and is due to stand trial today (August 8th).
John Walsh, named as one of the key players behind the illegal puppy trade in was arrested after leaving the port of Cairn Ryan with 49 puppies in the back of a van on July 18th. Walsh was duly prosecuted and appeared at Stranraer Sheriff Court on Tuesday 29 July 2003, where he pleaded not guilty. The trial was adjourned until today, where Walsh is again expected to plead not guilty.
Ken McKie, Secretary of the anti-puppy farming campaign organisation, Waterside Action Group told OUR DOGS: "The apprehension of this man is a great boon to our campaign and there are rumours that conditions within the vehicle were horrific. It also alleged that the same man will be prosecuted in Southern Ireland as well. The SSPCA and ISPCA were involved in this but I also suspect that the RSPCA Special Ops team set this up as we had pointed this man out to them some time ago.
"This at long last supports all our allegations and complaints over this trade and perhaps now all the authorities will waken up to the probelm but as usual I will not hold my breath."
Walsh was last in the news in 2001 when he brought a consignment of sheep into Northern Ireland from Carlisle in Cumbria at the beginning of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
The animals were supposed to go for slaughter at an abattoir in the town of Lurgan but the deal fell through. They ended up instead on a farm in south Armagh and were discovered to have the disease at the end of February.
Walsh denied knowledge of the animals being infected, claiming that they had been passed as fit by a vet in Carlisle.
He fled to the UK mainland to escape prosecution.