Upper Bann MP David Simpson has given his support to the Dog’s Trust’s latest campaign to highlight the UK’s growing puppy smuggling problem.
The animal charity raised the issue to a host of MPs at its annual House of Commons reception hosted by Sir Roger Gale MP and supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
“I am pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the issue of illegal puppy smuggling - something which affects many people in my constituency each year,” said Mr Simpson.
“Not only is this issue affecting unwitting members of the public who are buying puppies without knowing where in the world they have come from, but it also brings with it a risk of disease to humans and dogs, which is simply unacceptable.
“There are also the huge welfare concerns for the puppies being transported such long distances at such a young age.
“It’s evident that greater measures need to be put in place to deter people from smuggling puppies into this country illegally.”
Following its initial report into puppy smuggling in November 2014, Dogs Trust this year conducted its second in-depth investigative report focused on the puppies travelling illegally into Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
Dogs Trust found substantial evidence that underage puppies are still regularly entering the country on false documentation and are subsequently sold to unsuspecting consumers.
The report found evidence of ineffective border controls and enforcement of PETS at British ports, with no requirement on enforcers to carry out even a basic sight check on the animal being imported.
The Dogs Trust managed to transport a stuffed toy with a pet passport three times without anyone noticing the dog was not alive.
The report also noted that breeders and dealers from Lithuania and Romania are supplying young puppies under 12 weeks of age, that vets in Lithuania and Romania falsifying data on pet passports for PETS and that puppies are being bred in horrendous conditions in Eastern Europe.
To emphasise how easily unethical dealers are able to bring underage, sickly, or undocumented puppies into Great Britain, MPs were invited to take part in a photo opportunity which saw them standing in front of a giant fake pet passport.
They were surrounded by toy puppies that Dogs Trust smuggled through Britain’s ports as part of their investigation, to illustrate the ineffectiveness of patrols at the ports.
Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, said: “Dogs Trust’s famous slogan A dog is for life, not just for Christmas is 37 years old.
“But it is still, sadly, as relevant as ever with puppies available to buy at the click of a button online.”