The Scottish SPCA has reported a major increase in the number of animals seized as a result of cruelty investigations.
Meanwhile almost half of the record 302 animals taken into care by its inspectors last year following cases submitted to the Crown Office were victims of the illegal puppy trade.
The figures come in a report about the charity’s activities in 2017, which saw one person on average banned from keeping animals every week.
Chief Executive Kirsteen Campbell said: “The illegal puppy trade remains a major concern.”
Jut under half of the record 302 animals seized last year were rescued from dealers who treat dogs as nothing more than commodities.
Mrs Campbell added:“We prevented an additional 75 puppies involved in the illegal puppy trade entering Scotland via Cairnryan Port from Ireland.
“We work closely with our sister organisation the ISPCA, to ensure these pups receive the highest possible care and are happily rehomed in Ireland.”
She added: “This situation simply cannot be allowed to continue.
“We have welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase potential penalties for animal welfare offences, to tackle illegal puppy dealing and licence animal sanctuaries.”
The charity has called for court cases involving animals held as evidence while their owners await any further action to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
“Animal cruelty cases can often take years to be heard in court,” said Mrs Campbell.
“This is a real issue and the reason why we had more than 1,000 animals in our care in 2017 with no home to go to because their owners had not yet faced trial.
“First and foremost this is not good for animal welfare - it is also entirely at our expense, and we would like to see these types of cases being heard in court sooner.”