Our work to end puppy smuggling

For more than a decade, we've been campaigning to end the vile puppy smuggling trade for good.

Puppy sat in rehoming centre kennel at Dogs Trust Leeds

Since 2012, the Pet Travel Scheme, created to make it easy for owners to take their family pets on holiday with them, has been abused by unscrupulous traders.

They’ve taken advantage of the scheme’s simple set-up to illegally import thousands of puppies for sale, making huge profit at the cost of welfare. 

This has resulted in puppies – which are often too young, unvaccinated and in poor welfare – being transported to the UK in terrible conditions, to be sold on to unsuspecting buyers. 

We first exposed this cruel puppy smuggling trade in 2014, we have been pushing for changes to the law to help stop it ever since. 

Our Puppy Pilot scheme 

Our Puppy Pilot scheme was set up in 2015 to aid the interception of illegally imported puppies by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) at the ports and provide care and rehabilitation for them until they find loving new homes. Since then, we have cared for more than 2000 puppies. 

Tragically, we have seen puppies as young as four weeks old being smuggled into the country and dogs with open wounds from ear cropping as well as heavily pregnant dogs close to giving birth. 

Don’t fall victim to this vile trade

Our buying advice and information on how to choose a puppy a litter will help you find a healthy, happy dog from a responsible breeder while avoiding irresponsible breeders and smuggled puppies. 

Join our campaign 

Discover how you can take action to end puppy smuggling for good. 

Tragic tales and the decade of delay

In 2023 we sent a book called 'Tragic Tales and the Decade of Delay’ to MPs. The book features four of our real-life heroes, showing the impact of the current situation. 

Poppy, Sean, Bailey and Snowy were all victims of the cruel puppy smuggling trade but fortunately were seized at the border, where we were able to step in and change their tale.

pdf 980 KB
Tragic tales and the decade of delay

Our investigations

We’ve been investigating and exposing the scale of the illegally important puppy trade for almost a decade. Explore the findings of our reports.  

pdf 5.3 MB
2020 Puppy smuggling report
pdf 7.5 MB
2018 Puppy smuggling report
pdf 5.4 MB
2017 Puppy smuggling report
pdf 6.5 MB
2015 Puppy smuggling report
pdf 1.5 MB
2014 Puppy smuggling report
pdf 158.4 KB
Glossary of terms

Related articles

Buying a puppy safely and responsibly
Choosing your dog
Buying a puppy safely and responsibly
How to choose a puppy from a litter
Choosing your dog
How to choose a puppy from a litter
Help us end puppy smuggling
Campaigns and appeals
Help us end puppy smuggling