Borough MP backs campaign to end puppy smuggling

An MP from the borough helped an animal welfare charity take its call for an end to the cruel puppy smuggling trade to Downing Street.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 10:48 am
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 11:58 am
Jo Platt (far right) joins other MPs and the Dogs Trust at Downing Street to demand action on puppy smuggling

Jo Platt, who represents Leigh in the House of Commons, went with a cross-party group to the Prime Minister’s office to assist the Dogs Trust deliver a book of pledges from politicians.

The charity has been investigating puppy smuggling for several years and its reports have uncovered horrific abuse of pet travel arrangements by organised crime groups.

Ms Platt is one of 137 MPs who have backed the Dogs Trust in its efforts to stamp out the illegal importing of dogs from across the continent into the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme.

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She said: “I have long supported Dogs Trust in their efforts to raise awareness of the issue and tackle the abhorrent smuggling of puppies from Central and Eastern Europe to the UK.

“I was delighted to join the charity at 10 Downing Street to deliver the book of MP pledges. Our support and the overwhelming backing from the public will hopefully encourage Government to bring an end to puppy smuggling with the introduction of tighter controls and the need for much stronger penalties to deter this horrific crime.”

The charity’s latest report in October 2018 revealed corrupt vets in central and eastern Europe falsifying documents for underage puppies to be brought to Britain along with pregnant animals being smuggled so their puppies can be quickly sold to UK buyers.

Previously the Dogs Trust has found the street value of dogs intercepted at the border in the last four years to be around £1m, with French Bulldogs alone accounting for around half of that.

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Charity says law changes and harsher penalties urgently needed.

The Dogs Trust says it is now time for action by the Government after its investigative work uncovered the shocking abuses of pet importing arrangements.

The charity’s veterinary director Paula Boyden said: “The complete disregard for the health and welfare of dogs being illegally imported is appalling.

“We need to see a number of changes, including visual checks on all dogs entering the UK, out-of-hours and weekend cover at ports by Government agencies and increased maximum penalties for those caught alongside punitive Fixed Penalty Notices.”

The Pet Travel Scheme allows animals to travel through the EU without going into quarantine.