For more than six years, Dogs Trust has been working to expose the cruel puppy smuggling trade. As members of Dogs Trust’s parliamentary Puppy Smuggling Taskforce, we have written to the Government calling for urgent action to stop the illegal importation of dogs into the UK.
Almost 50 MPs have signed this letter including Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) and Rachel Hopkins (Luton South).
Through their first four undercover investigations and the establishment of the Puppy Pilot scheme, Dogs Trust have found evidence of:
- Puppies bred in horrific conditions
- Heavily pregnant females being illegally brought into the UK to allow dealers to dupe buyers into buying ‘UK bred’ puppies
- Long journeys from Central and Eastern Europe
- No food, insufficient water, no exercise and no toilet breaks
- Ineffective border controls and enforcement of Pet Travel Scheme at UK ports
- Lack of sufficient penalties to deter the illegal trade
The findings in their fifth report, ‘Puppy Smuggling: Puppies still paying as Government delays’, launched December 2020, are a glaring reminder that action is needed not only to end the suffering of puppies, but also to protect the unsuspecting buyers that are inadvertently fuelling the trade.
The investigation looked at adverts for breeds amongst those most intercepted on entry to the UK from Central & Eastern Europe and cared for on the Puppy Pilot in the last two years.
The findings revealed that 29% of these adverts in England were for imported puppies. 14% of all adverts reviewed across Great Britain were for imported puppies and 18% of these were confirmed by their seller as being under the legal minimum 15 weeks of age for entry into the UK.
Since the launch of the Puppy Pilot scheme in December 2015, over 1,500 illegally imported puppies have been rescued and rehabilitated by Dogs Trust, with a street value of over £3 million (if sold at today’s inflated prices by their dealers).
Until the Government acts, many more puppies and adult dogs will suffer at the hands of the criminals involved in this trade. We urge the Government to take action and introduce legislation to put a stop to the illegal importation of dogs into Great Britain.
Dr Neil Hudson MP FRCVS
House of Commons