Thanks to your support over 11,000 emails have been sent to MPs about Puppy Smuggling this year. But, we can't stop there. We must keep the pressure on to ensure the illegal smuggling of puppies is stopped.
What is puppy smuggling?
Underhand dealers import 'designer' breeds such as Pug puppies, Dachshund puppies, French Bulldog puppies, English Bulldog puppies and Chow Chow puppies. Pups are separated from their mothers when they are weeks old because they look smaller and cuter, and can be sold for lots of money, especially in the weeks before Christmas.
Breeders and vets in countries where puppies are born – in a well-oiled network of crime and deception - fake dogs’ documents so they can be imported. Some pups have no vaccinations at all, posing a serious health risk to people here.
Breeders have been able to continue their crimes by taking advantage of loopholes in the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), a set of rules which allows animals to travel between countries without having to go to quarantine.
Dogs travelling under PETS must be 15 weeks old, microchipped, vaccinated for rabies, treated for tapeworm and have a pet passport.
At the end of 2017, Environment Secretary Michael Gove confirmed that there will be opportunities to strengthen animal welfare legislation when we leave the EU. We welcomed this news. There are actions that can and should be immediately introduced to help prevent puppy smuggling. Brexit provides a crucial opportunity to ensure that puppies entering this country are healthy, not underage and are not being brought in to sell on to the unsuspecting public.
What do we want to see happen?
1. On the spot fines matching the values of the puppies seized
2. Harsher prison sentences which better reflect the seriousness of the crime
What happens to the puppies?
Puppies travel in cramped and filthy conditions, sometimes for 30 hours at a time, with little food or water. Some puppies vomit and eat their own faeces during transport, whilst others die on the journey
Families in Great Britain have no idea they have been sold a smuggled puppy until it falls ill, or a foreign microchip is detected by their vet. Once discovered, puppies must be sent to quarantine immediately, which the family must pay for. It can cost thousands.
According to our Puppy Pilot, Pug puppies, Dachshund puppies and English and French Bulldog puppies account for 82% of dogs smuggled into Great Britain
Since our last report, Dogs Trust has launched the Puppy Pilot, asking Government agency staff at UK borders to stop, search and seize puppies. So far, we have rescued over 800 puppies found at UK borders.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We are still seeing no reduction in the numbers of puppies being smuggled into Great Britain.