Has Crufts made you broody for a new puppy? Well make sure your next pet hasn't been smuggled into the country.
The increasingly popularity of flat-faced toy breeds such as the Pug has caused demand to soar - and given the price tag of such pedigrees, dealers are exploiting unsuspecting buyers with cheap unethically- and illegally-sourced pups.
Dogs Trust reports that in the last three months alone, over 100 puppies have been seized by border staff across three Kent ports as puppy traffickers attempt to bring them in, likely from European puppy farms. False paperwork and documentation often indicates puppies are older than they really are; to come into the UK they must be at least 15 weeks old, so as that the rabies vaccination is effective. However, puppies sell best at around eight weeks - or sadly even younger.
Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden comments: “We know that there is an ever increasing demand for certain breeds such as French Bulldogs and these breeds are being smuggled into the UK to satisfy this demand. We understand that when people see such breeds it can result in an impulsive decision to buy one. We urge members of the public to think carefully about the commitment involved in buying a puppy, and to seek advice on where to buy a puppy. These dealers often disguise themselves online as loving family homes in order to dupe their buyers so please do your research before you embark on a purchase.”
Don't be sold a pup! Avoid illegal imports by...
- Seeing the puppy with its REAL mother - see them interacting naturally
- See the breeding premises - don't meet the breeder elsewhere out of convenience
- Price checking - too good to be true? Then it probably is! Puppy farming has the margins to cut corners.
If you are caught with an illegally imported puppy, it will be quarantined and you will be liable for the cost. It isn't worth the risk.