County residents warned about illegally-imported puppies

29 October 2013

Northamptonshire residents are being advised about the dangers of buying puppies at a price that seems too good to be true.

Why is this advice being issued?

The warning is being issued by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards service because their animal health team has seen an increase in the number of illegally imported puppies from across Europe.

The puppies are imported on incomplete, false or fraudulent paperwork and frequently their health is compromised as they are poorly bred and are very young.

What are the risks?

The biggest concern is that the majority of puppies have not had rabies vaccinations, or the vaccinations are invalid, therefore posing a disease risk to the UK and its residents.

The puppies are generally sold for a cheaper price than those bred in the UK to entice people to purchase them. But what might appear to be a bargain actually comes with a high cost because if they are found to be non-compliant with importation legislation, the puppies will be detained in quarantine at the expense of the new owner, with fees in excess of £1,000.

Cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: “Increasing numbers of puppies are being imported illegally into the UK from puppy farms across Europe and are being sold via adverts on the internet and in newspaper small ads.

“Not only are these puppies probably unhealthy, poorly bred and too young to be rehomed, they often have not had the correct rabies vaccinations. This means that although you might think you are getting a bargain, you risk being hit by substantial costs with quarantine fees potentially more than £1,000 and not to mention the emotional costs of having a puppy taken from the home.”

Advice on buying a puppy

  • Be suspicious if the seller cannot show you the puppy with its mother and litter mates. View the puppy where it was bred.
  • Get as much information about where the puppy has come from and beware if the seller is from outside the UK.
  • If the puppy has been vaccinated (MUST be three calendar months for Rabies) ask to see the documentation. This must clearly state the veterinary practice where this was carried out. Be suspicious if the address of the veterinary practice is outside the UK.
  • If the seller informs you that the puppy has been brought in from another country it should have a pet passport or a veterinary certificate with a valid rabies vaccination recorded in Section 4 of its passport document.
  • NEVER agree to have the puppy delivered to your home address or to meet the seller to collect the puppy. If the seller wants you to do this be very suspicious.
  • NEVER pay for the puppy in advance.

For more information

Trading standards have created an advice leaflet that will be distributed throughout Northamptonshire highlighting the risks and warning signs to watch out for when purchasing a puppy. Anyone with any concerns can contact the animal health team by emailing tradestd@northamptonshire.gov.uk.


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