MEP hears plight of illegally imported puppies on visit to Dogs Trust Snetterton

PUPPY PLIGHT: MEP Alex Mayer (right), with Kate Brewster and Meg from Dogs Trust Snetterton.
PUPPY PLIGHT: MEP Alex Mayer (right), with Kate Brewster and Meg from Dogs Trust Snetterton.

An MEP was granted a behind the scenes tour of a dog welfare charity in Norfolk – to find out about the plight of illegally imported puppies from Central and Eastern Europe.

Alex Mayer, East of England MEP and of the Labour Party, visited Dogs Trust Snetterton earlier this month.

Dogs are a man’s best friend, and a new puppy may be top of many families’ wish lists, but it is important that people know of the dangers of buying animals online

Alex Mayer, Labour MEP for the East of England

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is the founding member of the EU Dog and Cat Alliance, which now has more than 75 member organisations from across Europe which have joined together to tackle the illegal trade in dogs and cats.

The charity believes many of the puppies given as presents across the county this Christmas could have been smuggled in illegally into the country to meet customer demand.

Dogs Trust has rehomed 534 illegally imported puppies as part of their Puppy Pilot scheme. Through this initiative, Dogs Trust intercepts illegally imported puppies, funds their time in quarantine and cares for them until they are ready to find their forever homes.

Dogs Trust Snetterton rehomes hundreds of dogs every year and following the tour, the MEP had the chance to meet some of the centre’s residents hoping to find their forever home.

“Dogs are a man’s best friend, and a new puppy may be top of many families’ wish lists, but it is important that people know of the dangers of buying animals online,” she said.

“Families may unwittingly be purchasing illegally smuggled animals from criminal breeders across Central and Eastern Europe that are abusing the EU Pet Travel Scheme to bring large numbers of animals into the country without quarantine procedures.”

For information on what to look for when purchasing a puppy, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/puppy-smuggling/ps-consumer