CALLS are being made to end the cruel puppy smuggling trade after dogs were found ‘drenched in oil’ being smuggled into the UK.
West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper is backing a campaign from the charity Dogs Trust, who warned the public about the perils of buying dogs via online adverts after rescuing dozens of smuggled pups since the start of lockdown worth tens of thousands of pounds.
The dogs were destined to be sold on to unsuspecting UK buyers during the peak of the lockdown puppy-buying rush.
Ms Cooper recently attended an MP webinar on ‘Puppy Smuggling: Business as Usual for Illegal Importers’ where she learned more about the rise in demand and continued her support for Dogs Trust.
She said: “I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in calling for an end to cruel puppy trade. These illegally imported puppies suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers.
“If my West Lancashire constituents are considering buying a puppy I would strongly urge you to consider the guidance put forward by the Dogs Trust and thoroughly research who and where you are buying from.”
Since the beginning of lockdown on March 23, when demand for puppies began increasing rapidly, Dogs Trust has rescued 43 dogs via its Puppy Pilot scheme that were illegally imported into the UK from central and eastern Europe, with an estimated street value of £80,000.
The charity has also saved 12 heavily pregnant dogs, who have given birth to 53 puppies worth around an additional £100,000 to cruel smugglers.
The latest innocent victims are a group of six terrified pups, found covered in sticky oil in the back of a van, that would have been sold on to UK dog lovers as puppy smugglers continued to operate and take advantage of the demand for dogs during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dogs Trust believes this is just the tip of the iceberg of the cruel trade and is warning potential dog owners not to be ‘dogfished’, as it is all too easy to be scammed into buying dogs like these via online adverts.
Ms Cooper added: “Smuggled puppies often haven’t had the important early life experiences of socialisation with people and habituation with everyday objects which help prevent them being fearful in later life.
“They are often forced to endure long journeys from Central and Eastern European countries, such as Poland and Hungary, with little to no food or water and no toilet breaks.”
The Puppy Pilot scheme has rescued 1,167 dogs since it began in December 2015 with most popular breeds including Dachshunds, French Bulldogs, Maltese and even larger breeds such as Chow Chows.
For more information and advice about how to avoid being misled when buying a puppy advertised online, search ‘Dogfished’ or visit the website: www.dogstrust.org.uk/dogfished