THIS week, police in Ireland found dozens of puppies stuffed into boxes in the back of two cars.

It is believed they were bred illegally on an Irish puppy farm and were destined for towns in the UK such as Bolton.

Sadly, puppies on these farms are often raised in appalling conditions and can suffer from a range of problems such as mange, ear mites, fleas and eye and parasitic infections.

The animals often have little veterinary care and no exercise, stimulation or affection.

Farmed dogs’ mental health is equally likely to be damaged during the crucial early weeks of development. Starving a dog of animal and human contact prevents it being socialised — learning how to relate to its owners and to other dogs.

Four Paws charity is urging people in Bolton not to buy puppies from the boot of a car or a van, and always to arrange to meet the puppy with its parents at the breeder’s home.

The best place to find a dog, though, is at a reputable re-homing centre, where there are many desperate animals who are looking for a second chance at a loving home.

Will Wright Four Paws