Puppy Smuggling

Part of Youth Inmates: Solitary Confinement – in Westminster Hall at 5:03 pm on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 5:03 pm, 2nd April 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention, and he is absolutely right. That is the focus that we want to put into this debate.

Official figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show an increase in the number of dogs brought into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the first year, 2011, the number was 85,000; in the most recent year, 2016, the number was 275,000. If that does not disturb Members, it should. It is time that we made more people aware of what they could be getting, and how these little dogs come here.

I ask for four things. First, we should increase the maximum penalties for those caught illegally importing dogs, and introduce punitive fixed penalty notices. Secondly, we should shift the focus in enforcement of pet travel legislation away from the carriers—that is, the ferries and Eurotunnel. Thirdly, we should introduce a centrally accessible database to log pets’ microchip numbers and their date of entry into Great Britain. Fourthly, we need intelligence-led enforcement to identify dealers and traders who are regularly importing multiple puppies.

This is a matter for people in the street who care that the animal they bring into their homes to become a part of their family is an animal that has been cared for. I support making life impossible for those who are flouting the rules with no regard for welfare, and that is why I am here today to support the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire, as is everybody else present.