The trade in smuggled puppies is spiralling out of control, putting the animals’ lives in danger and even risking the import of rabies, a leading dog charity warned on Friday.
Issuing its warning to coincide with “the Christmas puppy purchase rush”, the Dogs Trust highlighted imports from Hungary and Lithuania, where undercover investigations showed that most vets visited were willing to falsify pet travel papers, and most breeders and dealers were willing to sell underage puppies.
The charity said the number of declared puppies entering Britain between 2011 and 2013 from Lithuania had increased by 780 percent and risen 663 percent from Hungary.
The dogs often travel in appalling conditions and do not have the correct treatments or vaccinations, “increasing the risk to British dog owners of serious disease”, including rabies, the trust said.
The Dogs Trust urged the government to stiffen fines and increase the minimum age of entry for puppies, and urged the public to question the sourcing of their purchase.