Scan­dal of pup­pies smug­gled to Bri­tain for Xmas

Daily Mail - - News - Daily Mail Re­porter

eAST­eRN euro­pean gangs are smug­gling thou­sands of pup­pies into Bri­tain in ‘shock­ing con­di­tions’ to cash in on Christ­mas de­mand, a dog wel­fare char­ity has warned.

The Dogs Trust said nearly 100 pedi­gree pup­pies, which can net thou­sands of pounds each, were seized at the bor­der in one week, adding that the record clam­p­down was ‘just the tip of the ice­berg’.

high de­mand for trendy breeds such as pugs, dachshunds and chow chows helps fuel the ‘sick­en­ing trade’.

Pup­pies suf­fer­ing from be­havioural and health prob­lems are among thou­sands traf­ficked in, many from cen­tral and east­ern europe, the char­ity said.

Some as young as four weeks old re­sort to eat­ing their own fae­ces as they are smug­gled across europe in cramped spa­ces with no air con­di­tion­ing.

They are then pre­sented to prospec­tive buy­ers with fake ra­bies vac­ci­na­tion cer­tifi­cates.

In 2016, some 275,876 dogs trav­elled to Bri­tain, more than tre­ble the recorded num­ber in 2011.

French bull­dogs can cost up to £3,000, while a toy maltipoo in North­wich, Cheshire, was ad­ver- tised for £2,000. One owner in Wel­wyn, hert­ford­shire, ad­ver­tised a French bull­dog on­line for £10,000.

Dogs Trust di­rec­tor Paula Boy­den said: ‘Buy­ing an il­le­gally im­ported puppy could cost wellmean­ing but un­sus­pect­ing fam­i­lies thou­sands of pounds in quar­an­tine and vet bills and emo­tional heartache for the fam­ily if the puppy falls ill or worse, dies.’ In one re­cent case, seven Ital­ian mas­tiffs were found with in­fec­tions af­ter hav­ing their ears and tails il­le­gally cropped and docked with scis­sors and vodka meant to ster­ilise the wounds.

The char­ity ad­vises prospec­tive buy­ers to take new pup­pies to the vet as soon as pos­si­ble and not to buy from any­one who can sup­ply var­i­ous breeds on de­mand.

The max­i­mum sen­tence for il­le­gal im­porters is just three months.

A spokesman for the Depart­ment for en­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs said: ‘We are crack­ing down on an­i­mal traf­fick­ing with one of the tough­est pet bor­der check­ing regimes in the world.’

Sick­en­ing: These trendy chow chows were among thou­sands of pup­pies smug­gled here

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