The Kennel Club is extremely concerned by the number of puppies
being smuggled into the UK by unscrupulous dog breeders and dealers
who are abusing the current Pet Travel Scheme rules. These young
dogs are being sold on to unsuspecting members of the public who do
not have a clue where their puppy really originated from or the
often horrific conditions they have been raised in.
The PETS rules state that dogs can travel between EU and
approved non EU countries without having a blood test but must wait
21 days after a rabies vaccination, which must be given at 12 weeks
or older in order to be effective. Whilst this means that puppies
should be at least 15 weeks old before entering the country, too
many underage dogs are brought in on forged paperwork and
passports, without the appropriate vaccinations, at a time when
they are at their smallest, cutest and most easy to sell.
This is not only a public health risk as it increases the risk
of rabies entering the country but it is also resulting in the
abuse of puppies which are being bred and transported in horrific
conditions in order to make a profit for traders and breeders. They
will then be sold online and through third parties.
There are a number of steps the Kennel Club would like to see
being taken, including increasing the age at which dogs can come
into the country in order to strike at the heart of the puppy
smuggling trade, and improve the training for those at check points
or giving government agencies responsibility for check point
In the meantime, consumer education is vital and the Kennel Club
recommends that puppy buyers - who are often confused about how to
tell a good breeder from a bad breeder - always try to buy a puppy
from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. The Kennel Club is the
only organisation accredited by UKAS to certify dog breeders, under
its Assured Breeder Scheme, and as such the Kennel Club sets
standards for and inspects members of the scheme.
Failing that, buyers should learn the signs of a good breeder
and only ever consider buying a dog if they meet the puppy in its
breeding environment and with its mother. They should insist on
seeing the correct paperwork, including passport, microchipping
documentation, relevant health certificates for the puppy's parents
and vaccination certificates.