UK Cracks Down on Puppy Smuggling with Groundbreaking Welfare Bill

Puppy smuggling (Credits: Devon Live)

A new law aimed at stopping the cruel trade of smuggling puppies and improving the welfare of pets has gained support from animal charities. The Animal Welfare (Importation for Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets) Bill, presented by Selaine Saxby MP, was discussed in the House of Commons on March 15th and received approval from the government.

The bill aims to close loopholes in the Pet Travel Scheme that dishonest breeders and traders have used to illegally bring animals into the UK.

The bill proposes several measures, including reducing the number of pets allowed to travel under the non-commercial scheme, prohibiting the import of puppies and kittens under six months old, banning the import of dogs with docked tails or cropped ears, declawed cats, and preventing the import of heavily pregnant dogs.

Puppies (Credits: DogTime)

These changes aim to make it much harder to smuggle animals into the country and protect them from painful surgeries. Animal welfare organizations such as Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, The Kennel Club, and FOUR PAWS UK have supported the bill.

Selena Saxby, MP for North Devon and the bill’s sponsor, expressed gratitude for the government’s support and emphasized the importance of swiftly passing the bill to protect the welfare of thousands of animals brought into Great Britain each year.

She acknowledged the efforts of pet charities in campaigning for the bill and highlighted the measures outlined to prevent the cruel trade facilitated by unscrupulous traders.

Caged Puppy (Credits: Lady Freethinker)

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, stated that once the bill is enacted, it will prohibit the importation of dogs with cruel mutilations, prevent the importation of heavily pregnant dogs, and ensure puppies are not exploited by raising the age limit for importation to six months.

Harriet Main, public affairs manager at RSPCA, expressed delight at the bill’s progress, emphasizing the urgent need for legal changes to protect animals and close loopholes exploited for profit. As the RSPCA celebrates its 200th year, Main urged MPs to support the bill’s swift passage through Parliament to improve animal welfare.