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    • 21 Jul, 2015

    The EU Puppy Smuggling Scandal Continues

    Dogs Trust have released the findings of a second undercover investigation into the illegal smuggling of puppies from Eastern Europe into Great Britain for sale under the EU pet travel legislation. A news article on this can be found on the EU Dog and Cat Alliance website here. The Mayhew Animal Home is part of the EU Dog and Cat Alliance.

    Dogs Trust produced a report from their first investigation published in November 2014 – The Puppy Smuggling Scandal.  This investigation focused on puppies being bred and travelling to Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) which states the following conditions:

    • Puppies must not be for sale
    • Be at least 15 weeks old
    • Microchipped
    • Vaccinated against rabies
    • Treated for tapeworm
    • Hold a pet passport

    However it was found that in the majority of cases pet passport data was falsified. The puppies are too young to travel which means that their vaccinations are invalid – if they have vaccinations at all. The puppies are then sold to unsuspecting families in the UK who often have no idea that their puppy is from  abroad until their vet finds a foreign microchip and the puppy is seized and quarantined.

    Conclusive evidence from this initial investigation was presented to the European Commission as well as national governments with urgent recommendations to help curb this illegal trade.  Very few of these recommendations have been acted upon and new EU Regulation on pet travel which subsequently came into force on the 29th of December is not tackling the problem.

    Dogs Trust investigators returned to Eastern Europe to highlight that the EU pet travel legislation is still being used as a cover by commercial dealers in Lithuania on a regular basis to illegally import puppies into Great Britain.  Last year’s investigation did have some impact in Lithuania, with some vets and breeders now refusing to issue false passports, however many are continuing to break the law. Dogs Trust also entered Romania this year, and found that, like Lithuania and Hungary, breeders, dealers, and vets are regularly exploiting the EU legislation to illegally import puppies into Britain for commercial purposes.

    Here at The Mayhew we have dealt with dogs illegally brought from overseas. In such cases we discuss with the owners the situation of illegally imported pets and we alert the necessary authorities to ensure that the dogs are quarantined.  On one occasion, we discovered a puppy that had been brought from Bulgaria with falsified documents. He was quarantined for one month and we eventually rehomed him.

    This illegal puppy trade continues to boom with a high risk to human and dog health and their welfare. Dogs suffer terribly and pet owners are deceived into thinking that they are buying a pet legally. Along with the Dogs Trust, we urge the Commission and EU Member States to take the findings of these two investigations seriously.

    The full Dogs Trust report can be downloaded here.

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