An investigation into suspected illegal puppy trading has been launched after the death of a 12-week-old Golden Retriever found gravely ill under a bush.
RSPCA bosses said they were concerned the animal could have been ‘dumped by rogue breeders’.
The male puppy was discovered by a walker in a grassy area known locally as ‘The Green Field’ in Brooklands, Sale, on Monday.
The passer-by rushed the poorly dog to a nearby vets – the RSPCA said he was ‘extremely sick and barely breathing’. He died before he could reach the surgery.
The RSPCA said investigators suspect the puppy was suffering with parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease with a high mortality rate among untreated dogs. The charity said it fears other puppies from the same litter could be at risk too.
Greater Manchester Police meanwhile said the puppy could be linked to illegal puppy trading in the Stockport area and also appealed to anyone with information to come forward.
The case is being investigated by RSPCA animal welfare officer Steve Wickham.
He said of the viral disease: “It can be prevented through regular vaccination, but I’m afraid we often see the disease in dogs from puppy farms, and I am concerned that this puppy may have been dumped by rogue breeders or by new owners who bought him, before realising he was infected with the deadly disease.
“I’m appealing to anyone with information about where this poor puppy came from to come forward. To dump any animal is cruel, but to dump a dying puppy is heartless and completely shocking.
“I am urging anyone with any information to call us and speak with me. They can do so in complete confidence by calling our inspector’s appeal line number on 0300 123 8018.
“Only with the help of the public giving us information can we investigate cruelty like this and try and prevent this sort of terrible thing happening again.”
The RSPCA said it has long campaigned for laws to bring an end to illegal puppy trafficking, and more than 100,000 people have signed a petition launched by the charity.
The Government said it would introduce a new licensing scheme for anyone breeding or selling more than three litters of puppies a year, and banning the sale of puppies under eight weeks old.
A spokesman for the charity said: “If the standards are high enough, and properly enforced, this should help those wanting to buy a puppy to distinguish between a reputable and a rogue breeder or seller.”
Call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999 or police on 101.
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