At least 90 dogs and puppies have been seized by animal welfare officers in a raid at what is believed to be Scotland's largest puppy farm.
On Tuesday (14 November), the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) officers executed a warrant for the farm near Fyvie, Aberdeenshire.
An SSPCA officer from the special investigations unit said: "With the numbers of puppies that we have got here, these are certainly not pets. They are clearly being used for illegal breeding," the BBC reports.
"As far as I know there are no licences here in terms of breeding or a pet shop licence so these dogs are being sold illegally to members of the public."
Along with dogs, a number of other animals including rabbits and ferrets were also seized.
According to vets, the puppies, which were taken to a centre in Glasgow, could be as young as five days old and of various breeds.
Veterinary surgeon Harry Howarth, who assisted with the operation, said: "The welfare of these dogs has been compromised.
"All these environmental problems that we are picking up are going to cause the unnecessary risk of disease and poor health, which is going to cause pain and suffering and death to some of these dogs.
"There are all sorts of welfare rules being broken here. When you look at the puppies, they are not blooming, thriving puppies the way they should be, they look like puppy-farm puppies."
The SSPCA said a man who had arrived at the farm during the raid told the police officers that all the dogs were fine.
An inquiry to establish the ownership of the puppies and dogs that were seized are on, the SSPCA said.
The SSPCA conducted the raid along with the Scotland Police using warrants obtained under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006 (Scotland).