Plight of smuggled puppies highlighted

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton joins Dogs Trust in its the fight to highlight the horrendous conditions in which puppies are smuggled
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton joins Dogs Trust in its the fight to highlight the horrendous conditions in which puppies are smuggled

Dogs Trust has again urged MPs to support the charity’s fight against puppy smuggling.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, was among those to attend the annual House of Commons reception last Thursday.

The charity coined the famous slogan ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and it has been investigating the problem of puppy smuggling since 2014.

Through three undercover investigations, it found breeders take advantage of issues with the Pet Travel Scheme and as a result, underage puppies are illegally imported into Great Britain from central and eastern Europe, then sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

He 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 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.”

Over the last few months, nearly 100 dogs have been seized at the borders by APHA, the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

The puppies travel in appalling conditions and many require emergency treatment for dehydration and malnutrition. Through the Puppy Pilot scheme, Dogs Trust has been able to save 94 per cent of the puppies coming into its care.

Adrian Burder, chief executive, 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 Tim Loughton 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.”

The Dogs Trust Shoreham rehoming centre is in Brighton Road, Shoreham.