CONCERNS have been raised over the number of calls relating to puppy farms in Ayrshire this year.

The Scottish SPCA have had 36 calls to their helpline since January sparking fears that coronavirus and inflated prices has created ‘the perfect storm’ for breeders.

The animal welfare charity is on a mission to stamp out the illicit trade after discovering multiple reports of seriously ill puppies last month. September saw the highest number of calls to the helpline with seven recorded.

Five reports were also made in October, August and July.

The Scottish SPCA’s Special Investigations Unit has launched an investigation amid an escalation of reports of puppy farming.

Inspectors from the Scottish SPCA have launched 78 investigations into reports of puppy farming in October alone amid growing concerns about the trade.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “The combination of coronavirus restrictions and extortionate prices of puppies is being manipulated by puppy traders selling badly bred dogs.

“As we approach Christmas, we are frightened by the prospect of the general public flocking to these people to buy sick and ill puppies.”