Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has added his backing to a campaign to tackle the harm caused by illegal puppy smuggling at Christmas.
The SNP MP met with representatives of Dogs Trust, the animal welfare charity, at a parliamentary reception aiming to highlight the plight of smuggled puppies imported to fuel the Christmas puppy trade.
Dogs Trust has been investigating puppy smuggling since 2014, and through three undercover investigations has found that unscrupulous breeders take advantage of and profit from issues with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). As a result, underage puppies are being illegally imported into the UK and sold to unsuspecting members of the public.
Over the last few months nearly 100 dogs were seized by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) at the borders, as dealers take advantage of the increased demand for puppies in the run up to Christmas.
It’s been found that of the puppies who do survive the appalling conditions they are forced to travel in, many require emergency treatment – with dehydration and malnutrition among the horrific conditions they suffer from as a result of travelling for thousands of miles in cramped conditions, with no food or water.
Dogs Trust has issued advice so that budding puppy owners in West Dunbartonshire know what to look for, making a plea to anyone thinking of getting a dog to do their research first or consider rehoming instead.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the plight of illegally imported puppies, who suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers.
“It’s imperative that the UK government takes immediate action by enforcing proper checks at the ports and on-the-spot fines to deter these breeders and dealers, as well as introducing revised legislation as a priority when the UK leaves the EU. We really hope this will help to effectively regulate pet travel.”
Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, said:
“It’s a shame that we still have to remind people of our slogan, ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ nearly 40 years on from its creation. We always encourage responsible rehoming, but as we’ve seen, dealers will go to great lengths to dupe innocent people, making it increasingly difficult for people to spot an illegally smuggled puppy.
“Over the next 12 months, we will continue to push for proper enforcement at UK borders. We will also continue our Puppy Pilot scheme, which rescues puppies seized at borders, funds their quarantine and rehomes them responsibly. So far, this scheme has saved more than 600 puppies.
“We can’t thank Martin Docherty-Hughes MP enough for his support, and we look forward to continuing to work together to tackle this issue, and make some much needed improvements in 2018 and when we leave the EU.”
Join the fight against puppy smuggling here: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/puppy-smuggling/