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  1. Published on: 31/07/2020 01:35 PMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Puppy love?

    You must be joking!

    Calls are being made for an end to the ‘cruel’ puppy smuggling trade as dogs were found ‘drenched in oil’ being smuggled into the UK.

    And MP Rosie Cooper is backing a warning from the charity Dogs Trust, who warned the public about the perils of buying dogs via online adverts after rescuing dozens of smuggled pups since the start of lockdown worth tens of thousands of pounds. They were destined to be sold on to unsuspecting UK buyers during the peak of the lockdown puppy-buying rush.

    The MP recently attended an MP webinar on ‘Puppy Smuggling: Business as Usual for Illegal Importers’ where she learned more about the rise in demand and continued her support for Dogs Trust. Since the beginning of lockdown on March 23, when demand for puppies began increasing rapidly, Dogs Trust has rescued 43 dogs via its Puppy Pilot scheme that were illegally imported into the UK from central and eastern Europe, with an estimated street value of £80,000.

    The charity has also saved 12 heavily pregnant dogs, who have given birth to 53 puppies worth around an additional £100,000 to cruel smugglers.

    The latest innocent victims were a group of six terrified pups, found covered in sticky oil in the back of a van, that would have been sold on to UK dog lovers as puppy smugglers continue to operate and take advantage of the demand for dogs during the lockdown.

    They were seized at Dover port during lockdown, having been illegally imported from Romania – underage and after a journey that would have taken more than 24 hours – despite the lockdown restrictions in the UK preventing non-essential travel.

    That is why the UK’s largest dog welfare charity is again urging the Government to act now to end this cruel trade, as promised in its recent manifesto.

    The three Maltese, two Havanese and one Bichon Frise pups, aged at around 11 weeks old, were found in an appalling condition, drenched in oil and suffering from diarrhoea. They had to be shaved because of the oil spill, which happened due to unsafe travelling conditions in the back of the van during the arduous journey across borders. They are now in Dogs Trust’s care and will be re-homed responsibly when they are fit and able.

    Dogs Trust believes that this is just the tip of the iceberg of this cruel trade and is warning potential dog owners 'Don’t Be Dogfished', as it is all too easy to be scammed into buying dogs like these via online adverts.

    Said Rosie: “I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in calling for an end to cruel puppy trade. These illegally imported puppies suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers.

    “If my West Lancashire constituents are considering buying a puppy I would strongly urge you to consider the guidance put forward by the Dogs Trust and thoroughly research who and where you are buying from.

    “Smuggled puppies often haven’t had the important early life experiences of socialisation with people and habituation with everyday objects which help prevent them being fearful in later life.

    “They are often forced to endure long journeys from Central and Eastern European countries, such as Poland and Hungary, with little to no food or water and no toilet breaks.”

    The Puppy Pilot scheme has rescued 1,167 dogs since it began in December 2015 with most popular breeds including Dachshunds, French Bulldogs, Maltese and even larger breeds such as Chow Chows.

    The Dogs Trust is calling for:

    1. A requirement for every dog to have a rabies blood test before entry into the UK, together with a wait period which is in line with the incubation period of rabies. This would significantly the increase the minimum age for importing dogs and help to stop the trade.
    2. Visual checks at ports carried out by enforcement agencies with animal welfare expertise, with physical checks where necessary.
    3. Stronger penalties for puppy smugglers caught illegally importing dogs into the country which will act as a deterrent for this abhorrent trade.

    For more information and advice about how to avoid being misled when buying a puppy advertised online, search ‘Dogfished’ or visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/dogfished

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