Beware of Puppy Smuggling this Christmas
For a family with young children it can be the perfect present at Christmastime. Some homes aren’t complete until they have their first pet, looking after an animal can help to teach kids responsibility and compassion as well as providing often needed companionship. Homes across the country will be filled with screams of delight and whoops of laughter as children receive the gift of a new puppy on Christmas morning. Thanks to many awareness campaigns, families now treat their new arrivals as they deserve and welcome them into their forever homes. Sadly, there is still a dark side to the dog breeding industry in the UK.
A 2015 report by the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home revealed that just 12% of the half a million and more puppies that are born in England each year are registered to licensed breeders. Backstreet breeding forces female dogs to give birth over and over again. The mothers are ill-treated and then abandoned when they cannot produce any more litters and suffer numerous distressing health conditions. Thanks to a campaign, government regulation has seen the number of unlicensed breeders fall within these shores but it is now across the ocean that the problems originate.
Smuggled in from Abroad
The Christmas puppy trade has seen a surge in unscrupulous smugglers bringing lorryloads of puppies into the country for a quick and easy cash windfall. These poor animals originate primarily from 5 countries; Romania, Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and Hungary. Often bred in sickening conditions, akin to battery farming, these terrified puppies are then transported to the UK in darkened lorries, on long journeys with minimal food and water. They cross the border using falsified documents where they are then sold on to dog traders for as little as £100 a pup. Most dogs smuggled in are pedigrees like Pugs or Chihuahuas, and the dog traders can sell them on for up to £1,500
What Can be Done To Stop It?
Most of the time, families who buy a puppy are unaware that it has been brought into the country illegally. All of the documentation will be in order, it is only on the first visit to the vet when it will become apparent that the dog has a foreign microchip. At this point the authorities have to confiscate the animal, meaning heartache for the family and yet more trauma for the poor frightened little puppy. All that can be done at the moment is to be aware of the situation. If you are going to buy a puppy this Christmas, then check a few tell-tale signs that might be a giveaway;
- Make sure you visit where the dog was allegedly born.
- Does the puppy seem like he is at home in his surroundings?
- Is his mother present? Do they have a bond and a resemblance?
- Look for signs that the puppy was born there? Does he have a food bowl, a basket and playthings?
- Does he seem happy and healthy? If not, it could be an indicator he has just been on a long and uncomfortable journey.
If you are unsure on any of these things then it is advised that you get in touch with Citizens Advice and report the person selling the puppies to Trading Standards. It is only by reports of suspicious activity that the authorities can track down and stop these illegal traders and smugglers.