PUPPY SMUGGLING: Charity warns of illegal dog trade
The UK's largest dog welfare charity is calling for an end of the puppy smuggling trade, as demand for dogs continues to soar.
Experts believing the huge hike in demand for puppies that we've seen during the coronavirus pandemic is being exploited by criminals. Dogs Trust are also urging consumers to do their research before they buy a puppy.
In just five years, Dogs Trust has rescued 1,500 puppies who were being illegally imported across UK borders, many in terrible conditions – they say this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg.
The charity's Puppy Pilot scheme was originally set up in 2015 to aid the interception of illegally imported puppies by APHA at the ports and provide care and rehabilitation for them prior to finding them new homes. Five years on and the 'pilot' scheme is still needed more than ever as demand for dogs during the pandemic continues to fuel the trade.
In Merseyside in Feb 2021, there was an 84% increase in the number of adverts for the top five breeds of puppies the charity most commonly see on their Puppy Pilot, compared to the same period last year.
Another disturbing and increasing trend is heavily pregnant dogs being transported illegally into the country in the late stages of pregnancy, causing significant suffering and health implications to both mum and puppies. Not only will importing one dog attract less suspicion at the border, but as responsible buyers will ask to see the puppies with their mother, this tactic allows criminals to give the impression of being legitimate breeders and avoid being reported to Trading Standards.
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