Lifting the lid on the awful world of puppy smuggling

Puppies smuggled into the UK
Puppies smuggled into the UK

A woman who tried to sell illegally imported puppies has been fined £500 and told to pay £1,000 costs by magistrates.

She offered two English Bulldogs, one French bulldog and one pug for sale on the internet after importing them from Lithuania. When the animals were discovered they did not have the correct passports and were younger than 15 weeks old - too young to have travelled.

Roger Salmon

Roger Salmon

The dogs were taken from her home and placed in quarantine. One died there and the others were returned after she paid the quarantine fees. There were no concerns about the treatment of the animals but the practice of illegally importing animals not only increases the risk of spreading diseases to the UK and raises serious welfare concerns for the animals.

This case highlights some of the unsavoury practices which exist within the industry and anyone thinking of buying a puppy should always be cautious and follow some basic precautions if doing so.

In order to highlight this abuse, the Dogs Trust charity smuggled into Britain, a toy dog in a carry crate from Europe on multiple occasions without any enforcer identifying it as a fake.

The charity filmed breeders in Lithuania who sold them puppies and arranged for passports to be issued via their vet contacts. The team then obtained eight passports from seven vets in the country who falsified data on the passports to allow puppies under 15 weeks to travel to Britain.

The charities undercover team also filmed seven vets in Romania who sold puppies to the UK in the past - all of whom said they could arrange fake passports for underage dogs. The charity has provided detailed recommendations to DEFRA, which if implemented, would be a step forward in curbing the problem.

The implications of the puppy smuggling trade are huge for consumers who are being duped and the puppies that suffer horribly, plus the risk of disease kicking up on our shores.

There needs to be a joined up approach and Government support. It cannot be left to animal charities and concerned individuals to fight the puppy smuggling scandal alone.