UK Government Proposed Puppy Smuggling Ban on Puppies Under 6 Months


The UK government has proposed a ban on importing puppies under six months of age into the UK. The proposal is part of new welfare standards that would end illegal puppy smuggling in the country.

puppies smuggled in poor health
Puppies smuggled in poor health (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/)

Puppies under six months of age could soon no longer be imported into the UK under strict new welfare standards proposed by the government. This change aims to end dog smuggling within the country and protect these young animals from suffering during transit or after arrival.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs claims that the pushback against the “grim trade” will prevent pups from being taken from their mothers too soon, putting them at risk of disease and death. 

The proposal plans to increase the minimum age for puppies to be imported from 15 weeks to six months.

It would also contain provisions to prohibit the importation of dogs from puppy mills. In addition, the ban could also imply prohibiting the importation of dogs with cropped ears or tails docked and heavily pregnant ones.

puppy smuggling in the UK

Puppy smuggling statistics in the UK

In the past five years, the RSPCA has seen a 620% increase in reports of dogs with their ears cropped. The excruciating procedure, which is illegal in the UK since 2006, involves surgically altering or eliminating a dog’s external ears to make them appear more threatening. Here is a post from RSPCA’s campaign on puppy smuggling:

According to UK ministers, the proposals, which are being discussed, aim to safeguard the well-being of thousands of dogs and puppies imported to the UK each year.

Last year, more than 64,000 dogs were commercially imported to the UK, according to DogsTrust statistics. However, evidence suggests that there has been a recent increase in animals coming into the country in hazardous conditions.

The number of puppies seized for violating UK pet import regulations increased from 324 in 2019 to 843 in 2020.

According to reports, one incident involved six underage pups seized at the port of Dover after being discovered covered in sticky oil and experiencing diarrhea. In another case, police discovered four eight-week-old beagle puppies believed to have been smuggled from the Republic of Ireland into the UK. These puppies were found starving and dehydrated from the hot temperatures in the back of an abandoned vehicle.

How the pandemic created a surge in puppy smuggling

The pandemic and lockdowns appear to have driven a dramatic increase in demand for pups in the UK, resulting in steep price increases, unchecked illegal breeding, and declining animal health.

Animal Welfare Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: ‘Puppy smuggling is a grim trade, and we are determined to clamp down on it.

Chris Sherwood, the chief executive of the RSPCA, welcomed the consultation and stated that there had been a substantial rise in the number of dogs being commercially imported to the UK as well as a significant increase in procedures like ear cropping.

uk ban puppy smuggling for dogs under 6 months

Puppy smugglers are also known for illegally selling sick or deformed dogs as “rare breeds,” leading to a puppy scam. If you’re looking for a dog now, there’s no need to travel overseas; visit your local shelter instead! Do you also agree with the proposed puppy smuggling ban in UK? Leave a comment below.

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