Top Tips on how you can Help Combat Puppy Smuggling

Puppies, they steal our hearts and provide us with unconditional love. Too often these loveable animals are transported from across the globe to be sold illegally in the UK.


From October, breeders will be required to register their business with East Northamptonshire Council. This change in legislation will provide officers with more powers to crack down on puppy smuggling and protect puppies from being illegally sold in our district.


Dogs Trust launched the Puppy Pilot in December 2015, which took the landmark step of caring the puppies that were seized at the borders after being illegally imported by corrupt breeder and dealers.. So far, they have rescued over 800 puppies seized at UK borders, but there are still tens of thousands of puppies being illegally imported into the country each year.


National Dog Day is taking place on Sunday 26 August, which provides dog owners with the ideal opportunity to celebrate our furry companions. Dogs Trust provides people with the following top tips when buying a new puppy:



  1. Ask to see Mum and pup together
  2. Visit your new pup more than once
  3. Get all your pup’s paperwork before going home including vaccinations and ensuring your puppy is microchipped
  4. Walk away if you are at all unsure
  5. Report suspicious sellers or breeders
  6. Take your puppy to your own vet for a health check asap



  1. Meet anywhere that isn’t the pup’s home
  2. Buy a pup from anyone who can supply various breeds on demand
  3. Buy a pup that looks too young/small or underweight
  4. Feel pressure to buy a puppy
  5. Buy a pup that you suspect has been illegally imported



Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, said: “At East Northamptonshire Council, we are committed to providing people with the necessary information on how to make sure they are buying puppies from a responsible breeder. I would encourage anyone who suspects that puppies are being illegally sold to report the breeder to Trading Standards immediately, and walk away. By following guidance from Dogs Trust, you can ensure that your new puppy has had a healthy and happy start in life.”


Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust, said: “The illegal importation of puppies remains as serious an issue for animal welfare and public health in 2017 as it did in 2014, when our first investigation highlighted the devastating effects of the 2012 changes to the Pet Travel Scheme, which effectively invited corrupt dealers to traffic underage puppies into Great Britain without the required treatments.


“The number of prosecutions is far too low and the lack of visual checks at ferry ports and borders is unacceptable. We want to see stronger deterrents including prison sentences for those caught trafficking puppies. The government must revise pet travel legislation when the UK leaves the EU and ensure that puppies entering this country are healthy, not underage and are not being brought in to sell on to unsuspecting buyers via a scheme meant for non-commercial use.”

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