MEP hears the plight of illegally imported pups at visit to Dogs Trust Snetterton
East of England MEP, Alex Mayer, had a behind the scenes tour of Dogs Trust Snetterton on Friday 3rd November, to find out about the plight of illegally imported puppies from Central and Eastern Europe to the UK.
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is the founding member of the EU Dog & Cat Alliance, which now has more than 75 member organisations from across Europe that have joined together to, among other issues, tackle the illegal trade in dogs and cats.
Despite the charity’s famous slogan reminding people that ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®’, Dogs Trust suspects that many of the puppies given as presents across Norfolk this Christmas, could have being smuggled illegally into the UK to meet consumer demand.
Dogs Trust has rehomed 534 illegally imported puppies as part of their Puppy Pilot scheme. Through this initiative, Dogs Trust intercepts illegally imported puppies, funds their time in quarantine and cares for them until they are ready to find their forever homes.
Dogs Trust Snetterton rehomes hundreds of dogs every year and following the tour, Alex met some of the rehoming centre’s residents who are all hoping to meet their special someone.
Alex Mayer MEP, who is part of the European Parliamentary Inter-group on Animal Welfare, said:
“Dogs are a man’s best friend, and a new puppy may be top of many families’ wish lists, but it is important that people know of the dangers of buying animals online. Families may unwittingly be purchasing illegally smuggled animals from criminal breeders across Central and Eastern Europe that are abusing the EU Pet Travel Scheme to bring large numbers of animals into the country without quarantine procedures.
“A ‘good deal’ on a new furry friend may well be too good to be true, and families should make sure that they are providing a home for a healthy, happy, legal dog that hasn't been smuggled in by unscrupulous black marketeers.”
Diane McLelland-Taylor, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Snetterton, said:
"At this time of year, we often see an increase in people wanting to buy puppies as Christmas presents. Many people now look to buy puppies online, which is largely how illegally imported puppies are sold.
"These puppies don't have appropriate vaccinations, are often transported in horrendous conditions, with false documentation and many of them been taken away from their mums far too soon. Sadly around 8% of the illegally imported puppies we have seized died before we were able to rehome them, which is an absolute tragedy.
"We would urge anyone thinking of getting a dog to always do their research to ensure that breeders are reputable, and consider adopting a dog that has found themselves without a home to give them a second chance to have the happy, healthy life all dogs deserve."
Click here to see how Dogs Trust is tackling the puppy smuggling trade this Christmas, or here for information on what to look for when buying a puppy.
For more information on Dogs Trust Snetterton, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk or call 0300 303 0292.