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‘Rescued’ dogs handed back

A BITTER row has erupted after prosecutors ordered an Ulster animal charity to return 45 rescued dogs back to a suspected puppy farm.

Outraged USPCA chief executive Stephen Philpott hit out at the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for instructing him to hand over the terriers, Rottweilers and Labradors.

The dogs were taken from the alleged illegal dog breeding operation, following a USPCA raid. But the charity has been forced to hand them all back. The animals were being returned because it was deemed "not clear" Mr Philpott was trained in animal welfare and because there was "insufficient" evidence" .

The charity worker, who has provided evidence in some of Ulster's most high profile animal welfare cases in the last 14 years, has vowed to fight against the decision.

The charity has asked the new Assembly to address the matter and is also considering putting video footage of the raid on its website.

During the raid at the suspected puppy farm, the USPCA discovered dogs eating garlic potatoes, eating food placed on top of their own faeces, munching on out-of-date food and bogus pedigree papers.