Illegal puppy smuggling is an abhorrent practice that abuses the Pet Travel Scheme (PTS), and we are determined to put an end to it.
We have increased resourcing at major UK ports. In partnership with Dogs Trust, enforcement bodies and transport carriers, we are identifying non-compliant animals destined for Dover and Folkestone ports. This partnership began in December 2015, and has since then resulted in over 800 puppies being seized and placed into quarantine.
We are also working to develop long term solutions through an intelligence led task force.
Many owners do not know the true origin of their pet. We have published guidance for owners on buying a pet responsibly, which includes advice on what to look out for. A wider public communications campaign is also being planned.
We have also introduced new licensing regulations intended to drive up welfare standards for a range of activities involving animals, including dog breeding, which came into effect on 1 October. We have recently consulted on a proposed ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens. This would mean that those looking to buy or adopt a puppy would need to deal directly with the breeder, or with an animal rehoming centre.