We aim to crack down on il­le­gal puppy deal­ing

Midweek Visiter - - News -

SEFTON Coun­cil has launched a cam­paign against il­le­gal dog sales, af­ter five peo­ple were pros­e­cuted for their roles in a puppy smug­gling op­er­a­tion.

Four South­port res­i­dents, and one from Banks, were pros­e­cuted af­ter a joint raid by Sefton Coun­cil and Mersey­side Po­lice at a Skip­ton Av­enue prop­erty dis­cov­ered seven il­le­gally im­ported pup­pies be­ing kept in a poor con­di­tion.

Sefton’s Trad­ing Stan­dards team had no choice but to seize the pup­pies and put them in quar­an­tine.

Fears that the pups were too young to be vac­ci­nated against ra­bies were later con­firmed and, sadly, one puppy was so ill it had to be put to sleep. The re­main­ing six pup­pies were later suc­cess­fully re­homed.

As a re­sult of their in­volve­ment, San­dor Alexan­der, of Bonds Lane, Banks, Ladislav Balint and Ann Bal­in­tova, of Skip­ton Av­enue, and Ist­van and Ita­vanne Eged, of Church­town Court, were all pros­e­cuted.

The coun­cil is now urg­ing res­i­dents to be vig­i­lant when buy­ing dogs and has launched the “Paws for Thought” cam­paign to ed­u­cate peo­ple about the dan­gers of buy­ing il­le­gal pets.

Of­ten il­le­gally im­ported pup­pies, which are not vac­ci­nated against ra­bies, are only ever dis­cov­ered when a fam­ily take their new four legged friend for their first vet visit. At this point, the puppy has to be seized and put in quar­an­tine, with any costs in­curred fall­ing on the dog’s own­ers.

Not only is there a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tion, with fees in ex­cess of £1,000, but the act of re­mov­ing your cute new four-legged friend can be ex­tremely dis­tress­ing and stress­ful.

Un­der leg­is­la­tion, any dogs en­ter­ing the UK must have been vac-cinated against ra­bies - how­ever, the vac­cine will not work if given to pup­pies younger than 12 weeks.

As a re­sult, Sefton Coun­cil’s Trad­ing Stan­dards team are urg­ing those con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a puppy to make sure they know who they are buy­ing from, to check the pup’s vac­ci­na­tion his­tory and al­ways ask to see doc­u­men­ta­tion.

Sefton Coun­cil’s cabi­net mem­ber for reg­u­la­tion and com­pli­ance, Cllr Paulette Lap­pin, said: “We don’t want peo­ple to have their lovely new pup­pies taken away from them.

“But il­le­gally im­ported and un­vac­ci­nated pup­pies are an is­sue, and it is some­thing which can hap­pen in Sefton, as we have seen re­cently.

“The pup­pies we dis­cov­ered in South­port were only around eight weeks old when they were brought into the UK, mean­ing, even if they had been vac­ci­nated, it would not have been ef­fec­tive.

“In­creas­ing num­bers of pup­pies are be­ing im­ported il­le­gally in to the UK from puppy farms in East­ern Europe.

“Th­ese pup­pies are be­ing sold via ad­verts on the in­ter­net and are ac­com­pa­nied by false and forged doc­u­men­ta­tion which lead buy­ers to be­lieve they have been im­ported legally or bred in the UK.

“We want peo­ple to be vig­i­lant, es­pe­cially in the run-up to Christ­mas, when in­ter­est in buy­ing pup­pies is es­pe­cially high.”

The Paws for Thought cam­paign ad­vises peo­ple to be sus­pi­cious if the seller can­not show you the puppy with its mother and lit­ter mates, as well as:

If the puppy has been vac­ci­nated, ask to see the doc­u­men­ta­tion. This must clearly state the vet­eri­nary prac­tice where this was car­ried out;

Be sus­pi­cious if the ad­dress of the vet­eri­nary prac­tice is out­side the UK;

If the puppy has been brought in from out­side the UK, it must be at least 15 weeks old and have a pet pass­port or a vet­eri­nary cer­tifi­cate;

Never agree to have the puppy de­liv­ered to your home ad­dress, or to meet the seller to col­lect the puppy;

Never pay for a puppy in ad­vance.

Re­port any con­cerns us­ing the Ci­ti­zens’ Ad­vice Con­sumer Helpline, on 03454 04 05 06.

Cllr Lap­pin added: “The case not only shows a bla­tant dis­re­gard for the law, but put the com­mu­nity at se­ri­ous risk of the spread of ra­bies by il­le­gally im­port­ing the dogs.

“Hope­fully, this sends out a strong mes­sage to any­one think­ing of act­ing il­le­gally that they will be caught and pros­e­cuted.

“We would like to thank the mem­ber of the pub­lic that came for­ward to re­port their con­cerns, and would en­cour­age oth­ers to be vig­i­lant in or­der to tackle other in­ci­dents of a sim­i­lar na­ture.”

Dog lovers should check on where their pup­pies have come from when mak­ing a pur­chase, say Sefton coun­cil’s trad­ing stan­dards de­part­ment

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