Changing the tale for smuggled Snowy and her puppies

Snowy is just one of many pregnant mums trafficked in terrible conditions.

Snowy the Bichon Frise with her puppies
11th March 2024

Snowy was illegally transported thousands of miles to the UK while heavily pregnant, in dark, dirty and cramped conditions with no food and little water. Snowy was in the final 10% of her pregnancy when she was seized, which is illegal.  

The disturbing trend of transporting heavily pregnant dogs into the country in the late stages of pregnancy can cause significant suffering and health implications to both mum and puppies.  For the dealers, importing one dog attracts less suspicion at the border, and as responsible buyers will ask to see the puppies with their mother, this tactic also allows criminals to give the impression of being legitimate breeders. 

In the last three years, we have seen a 600% increase in the number of pregnant dogs intercepted via our Puppy Pilot. The stress imposed on these dogs as they are forced to travel thousands of miles in discomfort and used as mere money-making machines for their illegal importers can be incredibly detrimental to them and their puppies’ welfare.

Fortunately Snowy's story has a happy ending. Despite the terrible conditions in which she was smuggled, Snowy gave birth to four healthy pups and all five dogs have found loving homes with the help of our rehoming centres. 

For a decade, we've been calling on the government to change the law to protect more innocent dogs like Snowy:

  • Increase the age puppies can be imported to 6 months  
  • Ban the non-commercial transport of heavily pregnant dogs  
  • A complete ban on the commercial movement of pregnant dogs into Great Britain  
  • A ban on the importation and sale of dogs with cropped ears and docked tails  
  • Bring in tougher penalties for those caught illegally importing dogs

Thanks to the help of thousands of our supporters writing to their MPs, we've kept puppy smuggling on the government's agenda. We're so grateful to all of you who drew attention to the suffering of dogs like Snowy and demanded that the government honour their manifesto commitment to finally end this cruel trade. We're almost there. 

17,000 of you

emailed your local MP and demanded change

How is the law going to change?

In December 2023, Selaine Saxby, our ally and Member of Parliament for North Devon, introduced a Bill in Parliament to a move the dial on puppy smuggling. This Bill provides a genuine opportunity to close several loopholes that currently allow the trade to operate without facing consequences.

What comes next?

On 15 March, the Animal Welfare Bill's second reading will take place in Parliament. A crucial vote will decide whether the Bill can progress to the next stage of the legislative process. If successful, it will then undergo more detailed discussions within a committee in the next steps toward becoming law.

Find out more about how we've been fighting to end puppy smuggling:

How you’re helping us end puppy smuggling

We’re changing the tale for smuggled pups.

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