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Vets share Dogs Trust concern over illegal puppy imports

British Veterinary Association | British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

Responding to the Dogs Trust report ‘The Puppy Smuggling Scandal: An investigation into the illegal entry of dogs into GB under the Pet Travel Scheme’, BVA President John Blackwell said:

“The Dogs Trust report on the illegal trade in puppies highlights the serious concerns that BVA has raised with Defra over the level of controls and checks at our borders. A recent survey of our members found that 1 in 8 had reported concerns about non-compliant passports to Trading Standards in the last 12 months.

“We welcome the introduction of new pet passports at the end of this year, which are designed to be more tamper proof and improve traceability, but we remain concerned about the robustness of border checks, and the capability of Trading Standards to effectively deal with issues of non-compliance.

“When illegal activity is involved the risk of disease entering the country is increased. The UK is free of the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, which can have a very serious impact on human health. If passports are being altered and dogs are being brought into the UK under the radar we have no idea if they have been treated for the tapeworm. And even though the risk of incursion of rabies is low, if passports are being falsified we simply don’t know if animals are being effectively vaccinated.

“It is shocking to learn that veterinary surgeons within the EU are implicated in the Dogs Trust exposé and we call on the UK Chief Veterinary Officer to raise these concerns with the Hungarian and Lithuanian authorities as a matter of urgency.

“It is particularly distressing that this trade compromises both the welfare of the puppies and the breeding animals that are producing them.

“The report highlights the importance of only buying a puppy from a reputable breeder based in the UK. The best way to cut off the supply of these illegal puppies is to stop the demand. That means asking questions, using the AWF/RSPCA Puppy Contract and Information Pack, and never buying a puppy without seeing it with its mother.

“Legitimate breeders and sellers will always welcome questions about their puppies’ health and wellbeing, after all they have nothing to hide. Potential puppy owners can also ask their local veterinary surgeon for advice prior to purchase.”

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