Polegate MP, Maria Caulfield, has joined Dogs Trust in calling for changes to be made to the Pet Travel Scheme after an investigation showed that the system was extensively abused.
The third investigation into the Pet Travel Scheme by Dogs Trust in as many years has shown that little has changed and that it is still too easy for puppies to be smuggled from Central and Eastern Europe into the UK. The report found that many puppies were being brought into the UK underage with falsified documents, having not been checked by officials when entering the UK. Dogs Trust where able to get a fake cuddly toy dog through customs at both Eurotunnel and Dover with no visual checks being made to ensure that the paperwork matched the dog being transported.
Sadly, Dogs Trust found that illegal puppy farmers are getting smarter in their approach to evade authorities. They are importing older puppies, although still underage, in smaller groups and sedating them. These young puppies are subjected to long journeys in cramped and filthy conditions, to be sold in the UK at a high price, making hundreds of thousands of pounds for illegal puppy farmers.
Dogs Trust introduced a Puppy Pilot Scheme to intercept these puppy transporters on entry into the UK. 841 puppies where intercepted and 571 were deemed to be illegal and were seized, quarantined and rehomed by Dogs Trust.
Maria Caulfield has now written to DEFRA Minister Lord Gardiner requesting that the Government take action to monitor the Pet Travel Scheme rather than carriers, and to introduce prison sentences to reflect the seriousness of the crimes.
Maria said, “It was heart breaking to read the Dogs Trust report about how drugged puppies are transported in filthy cramped conditions right across Europe. The ease with which illegal puppy farmers are able to get their animals into the UK is truly shocking.
“This is why I am supporting Dogs Trust and have written to the Minister at DEFRA calling for action to be taken to combat this.”