Stirling MP Stephen Kerr visited Bandeath Stray Dog Shelter to back a campaign against puppy smuggling.
A report by the Dogs’ Trust showed that between December 2015 and May 2017 there were 571 puppies intercepted by UK customs and deemed to be illegally imported.
The puppies came from as far away as Lithuania, a 1000-mile trip that would have taken 35 hours.
Dogs may not be provided with food, exercise or toilet breaks during the trips and could be given insufficient water.
Mr Kerr said 65 local residents contacted him to draw his attention to the issue.
He said:“Puppy smuggling is cruel to the dogs. Often they are kept and transported in awful conditions.
“Anyone involved should face really tough penalties and we should send a clear message that treating animals in this way is not acceptable.
“In contrast my visit to Bandeath was a real pleasure.
“It is heartening to see the love and affection the volunteers and staff have for the dogs that need their help.
“Anyone thinking of getting a dog should come. There are some wonderful ones here, full of character and just wanting a loving home.”
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