Queen's Speech Reaction: Dogs Trust Statement On Animal Welfare Inclusion
Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust Chief Executive said:
“As set out in the proposed plans for the new parliamentary session there has been a commitment to cracking down on puppy smuggling, alongside promoting and protecting animal welfare more widely.
“For over six years we have been tirelessly lobbying the Government to tackle the cruel puppy smuggling trade, so we’re thrilled they have finally listened to our concerns. During that time, we have rescued thousands of illegally imported puppies who have had the most traumatic start to their young lives and have come into our care in horrific conditions. It’s been a hard-won fight and a long time coming, but the battle is not over yet.
"For a change in the law that puts an end to the unnecessary suffering of puppies once and for all, the devil really will be in the detail. To ensure this commitment has a real impact, the Government must:
- Raise the minimum age for puppies entering the country to six months old to make them less desirable to prospective buyers. This should also include a reintroduction of a rabies blood (titre) test before entry into the UK, together with a wait period following vaccination which is in line with the incubation period of rabies.
- Bring in tougher penalties for smuggling pups to deter deceitful sellers. Only a handful of puppy smuggling cases have ever been prosecuted and you can get a longer sentence for smuggling cigarettes than you can for smuggling puppies.
- Ensure there are better enforcement checks at the ports so illegally imported puppies can’t slip through the net; this includes a requirement for visual checks at ports carried out by enforcement agencies with animal welfare expertise, with physical checks where necessary.
“We want to thank all of our dedicated supporters and the MPs who have been with us on this journey. We will continue to work closely with the Government to be the voice for innocent puppies and ensure all proposed legislation effects real change.”
Case study: Sean the Sharpei was rescued by Dogs Trust after he was illegally imported into the UK
Sean the Sharpei was just eight weeks old when he was seized at the border in Kent in January 2021, as he was being illegally transported into the UK. This is well under the 15 weeks that puppies must be to legally travel across European borders.
Before he was intercepted, he had been transported thousands of miles across Europe from Romania and was likely destined to be sold on to a family here in the UK for a large sum of money.
Sean had so much excess skin, this was causing his eyelids to roll in and rub on his eyes – which is incredibly painful and meant that Sean did not even open his eyes. There were old stitches which were likely placed to try and help this, but unfortunately were not working. Whilst Sharpeis may struggle with skin problems, staff were shocked at how bad his skin was.
Whilst in Dogs Trust’s care, Sean has already had to undergo one surgery to correct the rolling of the eyelids and alleviate the pain he was in, but there is the likelihood he will need further surgery before adulthood.
Sean is now being cared for by Dogs Trust’s Puppy Pilot scheme.
More from Dogs Trust
- Dogs Trust and Purina Europe announce new partnership at International Companion Animal Welfare Conference on World Animal Day
- Leading animal welfare charities issue joint call for an end to greyhound racing in the UK
- Dogs Trust Statement regarding Her Majesty the Queen
- Dogs Trust calls on Nicola Sturgeon to protect the rights of pet owners in proposed Housing Bill
- Dogs Trust calls for new PM to pass the Kept Animals Bill through Parliament