An investigation into illegal animal trafficking has discovered more than 80 puppies being kept in BUCKETS.
The RSPCA investigation uncovered 87 puppies in raids on three addresses across Stockport and Greater Manchester, as part of Operation Pagan aimed at shutting down the sale of dogs over the internet.
In one address at least six large plastic buckets filled with live puppies were discovered.
Inspectors also found four dead pups, including two which were callously left in a bucket in the footwell of a car.
The puppies were of several different breeds, including French Bulldogs, West Highland Terriers and Pomeranians.
An independent vet inspected the puppies and determined that six were in need of treatment for sickness, and all the animals are now in the RSPCA's care.
A man was arrested on suspicion of breaching a ban on keeping animals, while a woman was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting the male to breach that ban.
Mobile phones and computers were seized from the addresses, and the pair were later bailed.
Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA's special operations unit, said: "There are thousands of dogs in rescue centres desperately looking for new homes, but many people continue to fuel the trade in imported puppies by buying from rogue sellers who simply see the animals as money makers.
"At this time of year especially, we want to hammer home the message that people should never buy a dog as a Christmas present.
"Having a pet is a major responsibility, and not something that should be done on a whim as a gift for someone.
"Never let your heart rule your head and buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it. If you have any reservations at all, you should always walk away."
Sergeant Mike Cooper, from Greater Manchester Police, said: "We have worked extremely closely with our colleagues at the RSPCA in the planning and execution of this operation.
"Two people have been arrested and are now on police bail pending further enquiries. We witnesses some shocking scenes yesterday and we will do everything we can to assist the RSPCA in any future prosecution or operation.
"People should only buy pets through the proper channels after considered thought and I would like to echo the RSPCA's sentiments that they should not be given as gifts this Christmas."
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