We are taking action to tackle the illegal puppy trade focused on three areas.
The Dogs Trust’s report highlights that responsibility for stopping the illegal movement of puppies begins in the country where they are born. The UK Chief Veterinary Officer wrote to the authorities in the countries highlighted in the report and follow up action has been taken. We will continue to alert the authorities in any Member State where we become aware of issues in relation to the operation of the pet travel scheme.
“Secondly, we will maintain effective border controls. Every pet entering Great Britain is checked for compliance with the EU pet travel scheme and in 2014 checks were carried out on over 170,000 dogs, cats and ferrets. Stringent penalties are in place where people are found to be breaking the rules.”
Thirdly, the illegal trade is driven by demand for cheap, pedigree puppies and we have published guidance on the steps pet owners can take to avoid buying an illegally imported pet: https://www.gov.uk/buying-a-cat-or-dog. We are also working with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group who have developed minimum standards for on-line pet advertisers which have led to the removal of over 130,000 problematic adverts in the last year.
The Dogs Trust has been invited to meet with the Minister for animal welfare to discuss their report ‘The Puppy Smuggling Scandal’.