Puppy smuggling

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 monitoring.

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.

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