Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne has highlighted the plight of smuggled puppies imported to fuel the Christmas puppy trade.
Gwynne joined the Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, for its annual House of Commons reception where the charity – who coined the famous slogan – ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ asked MPs for their support in the fight against Puppy Smuggling.
The Dogs Trust has been investigating the problem since 2014, and through three undercover investigations has found that unscrupulous breeders take advantage of, and profit 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, and sold to unsuspecting members of the public.
Over the last 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. Dogs Trust has found that of the puppies who 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 no food or water.
Dogs Trust has warned that although there is a rise in puppies illegally imported during the festive season, illegally imported puppies is a huge issue all year round. The organisation has issued advice to help anyone thinking of buying a puppy, to know what to look for, in a bid to stop buyers unwittingly fuelling the trade. The charity has also issued a plea to anyone thinking of getting a dog, to do their research or consider rehoming instead.
Andrew Gwynne 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.”