Trading Standards officers in Northamptonshire are reminding people who are thinking of buying a dog to be cautious about illegally imported puppies.
The warning comes after Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards team recovered a beagle puppy called Chloe after a vet discovered she had been brought into the UK illegally, unbeknown to her owners, who are from Brackley.
The puppy was vaccinated for rabies at nine-weeks-old, not the required 12 weeks, and so the vaccine could be ineffective. Chloe had to be quarantined for 21 days at the cost of the owner.
The family had bought Chloe for £600 after seeing an advert online and going to view her in Birmingham.
This case follows two previous reports in Northamptonshire of puppies being brought into the UK illegally since October, the first a Slovakian puppy and the second a dog from Moldova.
The main concern around illegally-imported puppies is that the dogs may not be properly vaccinated and rabies-free.
Trading Standards is now advising people once again to make sure they know where their new puppy has come from and has had a health check by a vet.
County council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage said: “The main issue around illegally imported puppies is that we can’t guarantee that the dogs are properly vaccinated and rabies-free.
“These puppies are usually sold via adverts on the internet and in newspaper small ads. The dogs are accompanied by incomplete, false and 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 is offering the following advice:
- Get as much information 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 import must be at least 21 days after the date of rabies vaccination.
- Puppies must be at least 12 weeks old before having a rabies vaccination administered, then need to wait a further 21 days prior to travel.
- 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, you can report it to Trading Standards by calling 03454 040506 or by clicking Advice guide website.