Pet Travel Scheme: Fraud

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23rd April 2018.

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Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham North

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fake pet passports were (a) identified and (b) removed from circulation in each of the last five years.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are aware that there are cases of unscrupulous individuals that abuse the Pet Travel Scheme (PTS) by using pet passports containing false information to bring dogs into the United Kingdom. We take the issue of PTS abuse seriously. The UK carries out more checks of pets at the border than most other EU Member States and penalties are in place for people found to be breaking the rules. Under the Non Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order (the Pets Order) a person found guilty of providing false or misleading information, including information contained in a pet passport is liable to up to three months imprisonment or an unlimited fine. Local Authorities are responsible for taking action against individuals, for offences under the Pets Order.

Neither Defra nor the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) hold data on the number of pet passports confirmed to be fake and removed from circulation. When APHA identifies instances of pet passports containing false information; for instance the vet authorisation being incorrect in a real document, it may raise the issue with the authorities in the country where the passport was issued. Where serious cases of PTS abuse are identified the UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) will write the CVO of the country concerned highlighting the non-compliances identified and requesting the outcome of any investigations.

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