UK dog rehoming organisation The Dogs Trust has hit out at the Government’s response to calls to get tougher on puppy smuggling by tightening regulations. The charity said in a statement:
Dogs Trust is disappointed with the summary of responses following Defra’s 2016 review of the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals (Amendment) Order 2011, published today (2nd November).
Sadly the summary gives no clear indication in tackling the issues that have arisen from the changes made to pet travel legislation in 2012, including the illegal importation of puppies. Whilst Brexit will provide an important opportunity to review existing legislation, there are long overdue changes that can be made as part of this current review.
Dogs Trust has been campaigning on this issue since 2014 and the charity’s recent report into the illegal importation of puppies uncovered shocking evidence that the trade is very much still rife. Undercover footage revealed a vet in Lithuania selling sedatives to allow puppies to be smuggled across the British border. Puppies as young as four weeks old were found to be transported during a cramped 1,000 mile, 30-hour journey across Europe.
The charity is again calling for its recommendations to be taken seriously, including more stringent checks at British borders and a shift of enforcement responsibilities from carriers to government agencies.
Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust says,
“The review of the legislation on pet travel is a crucial opportunity to propose vital amends to the existing legislation that we know is failing. We urge the Government to take on board the concerns expressed by Dogs Trust and other stakeholders, as outlined in the summary of responses, and to put forward a review document with clear proposals to improve this failing legislation. This would include increasing penalties for those illegally importing puppies and a significant overhaul of the pet checking system at ports. ”
“Over 270,000 dogs travelled into Great Britain on the Pet Travel Scheme in 2016 alone, but it’s impossible to determine how many of these have been brought in under falsified passports. Vets in Central and Eastern European countries routinely alter puppies’ birth dates in passports to make them appear older than they are, and therefore many underage puppies are entering the country before they are legally able to do so.”