MPs unite with Dogs Trust in the fight against Puppy Smuggling
Angela Smith MP has joined Dogs Trust to host our annual House of Commons reception where MPs were asked to support us in our mission to put an end to the cruel puppy smuggling trade.
We have been investigating the problem since 2014, and through three undercover investigations have found that unscrupulous breeders and dealers are taking advantage of, and profiting from, issues with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). As a result, underage puppies are being illegally imported into Great Britain from Central and Eastern Europe to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.
What is the problem?
In the past few months, nearly 100 dogs were seized by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) at the borders, as dealers take advantage of the increased demand for puppies in the run up to Christmas. Through Dogs Trust’s Puppy Pilot Scheme, which provides care and support for the seized puppies, the charity has found that if puppies do survive the appalling conditions they are forced to travel in, many require emergency treatment with dehydration and malnutrition among the horrific conditions they suffer from as a result of travelling for thousands of miles in cramped conditions with little food or water.
How are we helping?
Thanks to quick intervention and expert care from the Puppy Pilot scheme, we have been able to save 94% of the puppies coming into care. 6% sadly passed away. We have also seen examples of heavily pregnant dogs coming into the country – showing that breeders are stooping even lower to flout the system, with no regard for the welfare of the mum or puppies.
Dogs Trust coined the slogan ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ in 1978 and is warning that although there is a rise in the number of puppies illegally imported into Great Britain during the festive season, illegally imported puppies is a huge problem all year round. The organisation has warned anyone thinking of buying a puppy, that without knowing where the puppy has come from, they may be unknowingly fuelling the trade. The charity is issuing a plea to anyone thinking of getting a dog, to do their research, or consider rehoming instead.
During the event, MPs were invited to take part in a photo opportunity, showcasing the horrendous conditions puppies are smuggled in, with Dogs Trust reporting extreme cases of puppies smuggled in baskets covered with cling-film and crammed into suitcases.
Event host, Angela Smith MP said:
“I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the plight of illegally imported puppies, who suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers. It’s imperative that the Government takes immediate action by enforcing proper checks at the ports and on-the-spot fines to deter these breeders and dealers, as well as introducing revised legislation as a priority when the UK leaves the EU. We really hope this will help to effectively regulate pet travel.”
Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, said:
“It’s a shame that we still have to remind people of our slogan, ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ nearly 40 years on from its creation. We always encourage people to consider rehoming a dog, but urge anyone considering buying a puppy this Christmas to think about whether it is suited to your lifestyle, and follow Dogs Trust’s buyer advice to avoid being tricked into buying a puppy which has been illegally imported from Central and Eastern Europe.
“We can’t thank Angela Smith and her fellow MPs enough for their support and help to raise this up the Government’s agenda. Dogs Trust looks forward to continuing to work with them to bring about this much-needed change in animal welfare.”