In the last year, the UK has seen a detrimental amount of numbers of puppies being illegally smuggled into the country across the Channel in preparation for the so called ‘Christmas Trade’.
It’s not uncommon for families with young children to want to surprise them with the gift of a puppy at Christmas but what if this means that they’re unknowingly fueling the illegal puppy trade.
Now more than ever puppies are constantly being found in shocking conditions, with a vast amount of severe health issues. Traders are willing to hurt these puppies in order to gain a profit. They are docking the puppy’s ears and tails using vodka and scissors to ‘sterilize’ them, meaning they are being found with fatal infected wounds.
In recent years there has been a high demand for trendy breeds of dogs as they sell easier and quicker. According to the Dogs Trust, puppies such as French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Chow Chows and Daschunds all help to fuel this illegal and sickening trade. Unfortunately, breeders can now make tens of thousands of pounds by trading puppies.
Dogs Trust Veterinary Director Paula Boyden said: ‘Buying an illegally imported puppy could potentially cost well-meaning 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’.
It was recorded in 2016 that 688 illegally traded puppies and dogs were found, which is more than treble the recorded number in 2014. There is always a high demand for puppies in the UK around Christmas time and regrettably families aren’t doing enough research on the puppies they are buying.
Just last year, 275,876 dogs travelled across the Channel to Great Britain, with the shocking new trend of smuggling heavily pregnant female dogs into the country to give birth in unsafe and harmful conditions.
Right now, in the UK the maximum prison sentence for illegal puppy traders and importers is just three months. Traders are often breeding puppies on farms in atrocious conditions.
For families in the UK who are looking to buy a puppy in time for the Christmas period the leading charity The Dogs Trust are urging people to thoroughly check and take a copy of the puppy contract to make sure they are legitimate breeders. Puppies should not be leaving their mothers until they are at least eight weeks old.
When buying a puppy there are many factors to check for to make sure the puppy is in full health. They should have clean eyes, ears and bottoms and they must be microchipped. If you have never bought a puppy before the Dogs Trust are advising people to ask about vaccinations and worming treatments.
Last year the RSPCA were dealing with an increase of 6 per cent more calls in regard to unhealthy puppies in comparison to the year before. This is resulting in a 132 per cent increase in the last five years.
To date puppy smuggling has now become the third most profitable organized crime in the European Union, trailing slightly behind the use of drugs smuggling and weapons.
Officials are now seeing the devastating effects the illegal puppy is having on families in the UK and more action should be taken against the multi-million-pound corporation in order to tackle to the problem of importing puppies. This can be done by introducing tougher checks at ports, limiting the number of dogs that are currently allowed to accompany travelers in to the UK and lastly making better use of micro-chipping puppies whilst they’re young.