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Improved regulation on puppy sales now urgently required – Boylan

11 October, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has expressed her shock at the main findings of a new report compiled by the Dogs Trust and its implications for revising puppy smuggling regulations across Europe. The report investigated the abuses of the EU Pet Travel Scheme which is leading to the illegal importation of puppies from Central and Eastern Europe into Britain. 

Speaking from Brussels, the Dublin MEP said: 

“This excellent investigative report from the Dogs Trust must be read by all those with any say in reviewing the relevant laws governing puppy smuggling across Europe. 

“Having studied the report and in my role as an MEP I want to make clear my full support for proper regulation of the trade in puppies and other companion animals across Europe. Current legal powers have been inadequate to enable authorities to take proper decisive action against unscrupulous sellers of dogs and cats online. 

“We need to introduce the proper collection and sharing of data across the EU so that those sellers exploiting puppies can be stopped. All breeders must be registered on an EU wide publically accessible database so that classified advertisement sites feeding the demand and supply of the illegal trade are controlled. I also believe that such websites must use a seller verification system to root out abusive dog breeders. 

​”As the MEP for Dublin​ I encourage anybody​ thinking about getting a dog to consider a rescue dog but if they are set on buying a puppy they should never agree to taking a puppy where they are not allowed to visit the mother and the kennels where the puppy was born.

“The European Commission must now draw up an action plan to tackle the illegal trade in companion animals across the EU. The action plan should involve the European Parliament and member states, including all agencies as well as border and veterinary authorities. The action plan does not need to entail new legislation but it must comprehensively set out measures to be taken at EU, national and local levels to address not only the implications of the trade to animal health and welfare, but also to public health and consumer protection.

“Key findings of the report include the following facts:

“Puppies are being bred in large numbers in terrible conditions in Central and Eastern Europe 

“Puppies are being subjected to long journeys in cramped, filthy conditions with no opportunity to leave their cages for exercising or toileting and with minimal, if any, food, water or human contact

“Veterinarians in Lithuania and Poland are falsifying data on pet passports, allowing puppies under the legal minimum age of 15 weeks to travel into Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme

“Lithuanian vets are now suggesting that it is easier to smuggle a sedated puppy into Britain following the change in passport protocol. One vet went so far as to sell undercover investigators the sedative for the puppy

 “Some experienced traders are importing puppies when they are 12-14 weeks of age, instead of below 10 weeks, making it much harder for authorities to assess their age. However, puppies much younger than this are also being detected at borders 

“Puppies are being transported in ones and twos rather than in litters of four or five, so as not to raise the suspicion of Authorities and 

“Lithuanian puppies are openly for sale in Britain despite Directive 92/65/EEC showing that no dogs have travelled to Britain for commercial reasons in 2016.” 

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