Cruelty Investigations

special investigations

The illegal puppy trade, animal fighting, badger baiting, wildlife crime and other horrific acts on animals are among the serious animal welfare crimes happening across Northern Ireland every day.

The USPCA’s Special Investigations Unit carries out investigations into “organised animal cruelty” - serious welfare abuses that often take place well away from the public view. The Charity defines organised animal cruelty as:

“Where the USPCA has an honest belief that one or more persons are engaged in any joint activity with another and animal cruelty or a severe adverse effect on animal welfare has occurred, is likely or is expected. The animal cruelty or severe adverse effect on animal welfare may be an intended or unintended outcome of the joint activity.”

In recent times, badger persecution, tame deer hunts, cock fighting, dog fighting, illegal puppy farms and the trafficking of pups have all been subjected to USPCA scrutiny. Information gathered through our Special Investigations Unit is passed to enforcement agencies and successful prosecutions have resulted.

If you have witnessed such activity, or have information which would be useful in putting an end to these cruel acts, we urge you to confront the cruelty by reporting it confidentially here. You can also telephone 028 3025 1000.

  • Puppy Farming

    Puppy Farming

    Puppy farming is a grave issue here in Northern Ireland, one which has spiralled further out of control as those involved exploited the public’s demand for a loving companion animal during the periods of Covid-19 lockdowns.


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  • Badger Baiting

    Badger Baiting

    Badger baiting is a horrific ‘blood-sport’ and premeditated cruelty at its very worst, causing unthinkable suffering to not only the targeted badgers but also to the dogs forced to engage in this activity.


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  • Animal Fighting

    Animal Fighting

    Animal fighting is a terrible form of animal cruelty where animals are pitted against one another for ‘so called sport’. Despite being banned for over 185 years, the barbaric activity is still prevalent across Northern Ireland.


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