Action plea over puppy smuggling
A huge operation has been uncovered in Kent after an investigation by Dogs Trust revealed puppies are being smuggled into the country.
The animals, most of which are underage, are sedated before they get to the English border so they do not make a noise.
It is thought 82% of the pups intercepted at the border are popular breeds such as pugs and French bulldogs.
A litter of underage puppies smuggled into the UK from Eastern Europe were discovered with their umbilical cords still attached following a 30-hour journey.
The five English bulldog puppies were just four weeks old when they were seized by officials at Dover – 11 weeks below the legal age for transportation.
The operation also found documents are being falsified to make the animals appear older than they are, in case breeders are stopped by border officials.
Veterinary director at the charity Paula Boyden said: “These shocking cases clearly show that urgent action is needed to stop the puppy smuggling scandal.
“The number of prosecutions is far too low and the lack of visual checks at ferry ports and borders is unacceptable. We want to see stronger deterrents including prison sentences for those caught trafficking puppies.”
Ms Boyden is calling on the government to look again at laws for travelling pets once Brexit negotiations get fully under way.
Kent has been listed as the fourth largest area in the country for puppy farms.
In 2016, 168 (4.6%) of all calls received by the RSPCA related to puppies being traded. business editor Eurotunnel shrugged off Brexit concerns and predicted a long spell of growth as it increased revenues for the 15th consecutive half-year period.
The Channel Tunnel operator said the outlook is “good” for the next two years as it backed positive reports on the UK economy by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.
Revenues increased 3% to €497 million (£445m) in the first six months of the year while earnings before interest, taxes and