Trading Standards issues warning for would-be dog owners

Council / 21 Dec 2015

Peterborough’s Trading Standards Team is encouraging people thinking of buying a dog to be wary of illegally imported puppies.

There have been a number of cases in and around Peterborough recently where puppies are being brought into the UK illegally.

Two young puppies that were sold subsequently died and Peterborough Trading Standards are currently investigating.

A number of other puppies have had to be placed in quarantine at the owner’s expense, after it was discovered that they were imported directly from Lithuania. The country has been designated 'high risk' by DEFRA regarding the transmission of rabies.

By law, pet owners in this situation who decide to keep the dog have to pay any quarantine fees, which can range from £750 - £1000.

Trading Standards recommends that people make sure they know where their new puppy has come from and that it has had a health check by a vet.

Head of Regulatory Services Peter Gell said: “Increasing numbers of puppies are being imported illegally into the UK from puppy farms across Europe. Cases in Peterborough alone have increased by 300 per cent in the last 24 months.”

“The main issue around illegally imported puppies is that there's no guarantee that the dogs are healthy, properly vaccinated and rabies-free.

"These puppies are often sold via adverts on pet websites and in newspaper small ads. The dogs are accompanied by incomplete, false or forged documentation which lead buyers to believe they have been imported legally or bred in the UK.

“I would encourage anyone who is thinking of buying a puppy to read our advice carefully before adding a pet to your family.”

Trading Standards offers the following advice: 

  • Get as much information as possible about where the puppy has come from. 
  • Be suspicious if the seller cannot show you the puppy with its mother and litter mates. View the puppy where it was bred. 
  • If the puppy has been vaccinated, ask to see the documentation. This must clearly state the veterinary practice where this was carried out. 
  • If the seller informs you that the puppy has been brought in from another country, it should have a pet passport with a valid rabies vaccination recorded in it. The date of the import must be at least 21 days after the date of the rabies vaccination. 
  • Never pay for the puppy in advance.

Anyone who has concerns about a puppy they have bought should contact their vet in the first instance.

If you suspect your puppy has been illegally imported, or have information that can assist Trading Standards in its investigation, contact tradingstandards@peterborough.gov.uk