In an open letter, the RSPCA has warned that the illegal trade in puppies from overseas could lead rabies entering UK shores. The charity is calling for a tightening of UK borders to bring a halt to a growing industry that is already swamped in animal welfare offences.
The RSPCA is calling on the government to make tighter checks on ports to stop illegal international puppy traders.
In our new report Pushing at an open door – how the present UK controls on rabies are failing – we call for border controls to be regulated by the government and not left, as it is currently, to the responsibility of ferry companies.
Some traders are abusing these loopholes in border control to bring dogs without the correct vaccinations into the UK illegally.
There is now a rise in the risk of diseases such as rabies and parvovirus entering the country.
As a result of the relaxation of rules two years ago, dogs entering the UK for any non commercial purpose do not have to go through quarantine. A limit was set of five dogs per person but this rule is now being flouted.
RSPCA Head of public affairs