The Illegal Imports of Rescue Dogs and Puppies from the Irish Republic
Once more the need arises to write about the importation of rescue dogs and puppies from the Irish Republic into the UK as the illegal trade in unwanted and homeless dogs and puppies continues. Rescues responsible for sending bulk consignments of dogs and puppies to the UK are still not complying fully with EU legislation. The legislation states quite clearly that anyone (including rescues) that transport dogs, puppies or cats as part of an ‘economic activity’ must comply with the Welfare of Transport Order 2006, to ensure that the animals are transported in the correct manner, in secure cages attached to the vehicle, the vehicle is well ventilated and inspected and passed as suitable. The driver must be in possession of Authorisation 2 under the Welfare of Animals Transport Order 2006 when transporting animals over 65km.
Equally as important rescues that export dogs, puppies and cats as part of an ‘economic activity’ must comply with EU Legislation Balai Directive 92/65/EEC/TRACE’s. They must ensure that the dog/puppy/cat is microchiped, travels with its passport, vaccinated against rabies, inspected by a vet and has its health certificate to certify that is in good health to travel. This is in addition to normal routine vaccine and worming. The treatment against the echinococcus tapeworm is not required.
Anyone transporting dogs, puppies, must notify the local AHVLA, DEFRA office for the area receiving the consignment of rescue dogs 21 days prior to arrival to allow Defra/Trading Standards to check the paperwork is in order and the dogs/puppies/cats microchip matches their passports.
This is EU Legislation, yet rescues that are active in sending/taking regular, consignments of dogs’ puppies and cats to the UK from the Irish Republic are ignoring what is their legal responsibility. Some Irish rescues announce on their web sites and Facebook pages how wonderful they are in rescuing and saving dogs and puppies and sending them to the UK in large numbers yet they are doing so in contempt of the law but they fail to announce that fact.
The recipient rescues in England and Wales display photographs of the dogs and puppies asking a set price to take on the responsibility of one of their dogs or puppies, to save it from destruction in Ireland. During which time hundreds if not thousands of dogs and puppies wait for a home in the UK in reputable rescues such as the Dogs Trust, Battersea to name just two who neuter/spay, microchip and vaccinate. Their dogs are assessed and temperament tested by an animal behaviourist before offering their dogs and puppies for rehoming, for a far less donation than these ‘rescues’ who are importing illegally dogs/ puppies/cats from the Irish Republic, who sometimes allow dogs and puppies to be rehomed almost as soon as they arrive in the UK; some dogs are booked by a prospective new owner before the dog arrives from the Irish Republic without the new owner ever meeting the dog beforehand. The new owner taking a chance that the dog will settle in and suit their lifestyle – but not all rescues involved in the Irish UK link will support the owner by taking the dog back if is not suitable, the dog then becomes another statistic, not in the Irish Republic but now one in the UK.
Which rescues are sending dogs to the UK in large numbers? The biggest contender and well known in Ireland has to be AHAR short for Animal Heaven Animal Rescue. They are not a charity or company; this is immaterial in relation to transporting and exporting dogs to the UK. It is the frequent, regular numbers of dogs and puppies exported that makes them an economic activity.
Inistioge Puppy Rescue is registered in the Irish Republic as a Charity they regularly send dogs and puppies to the UK too. Again their status is immaterial, their dealings with UK rescues picking up dogs from them on a regular basis and returning to the UK with van loads of dogs and puppies makes this an economic activity too.
Both rescues (there are many others that are operating in the same way) sending dogs, puppies and cats to the UK via UK rescues should be complying with the Balai Directive/TRACE’s. The local AHVLA office, DEFRA and Council in the area of the recipient rescues in the UK should be notified of the dogs and puppies arrival 21 days beforehand. Yet no local Councils or AHVLA offices are notified of these regular transportations of rescue dogs. It is an offence not to do so. AS far as I am aware there is not one UK rescue listed below that receives or collects dogs in consignments from the Irish Republic as an ‘economic activity’ that is following the EU Legislation.
These rescues are just the tip of the iceberg, Many Tears Animal Rescue, Dorset Dog Rescue, Allsorts Dog Rescue, Rushton Dog Rescue, Comfy Care Rescue, Puppies Needing Homes, DAWG Rescue, Stockenchurch Rescue all receive dogs and puppies from these two Irish Rescues or make regular journeys to Ireland themselves to bring back dogs and puppies. AHAR and Inistioge either collect dogs from pounds in the Irish Republic; receive dogs from other rescues or individuals who are keen to see their unwanted dogs found a home in the UK.
That is fine providing that those involved do so within the law but they are not and no one appears to care how many dogs and puppies arrive in the UK. At the same time attention is drawn by the UK media and rescues as to the numbers of unwanted dogs in rescue and destroyed for the want of a home. Yet we seem unable to curtail or control the non-compliant importation of hundreds if not thousands of Irish dogs that find their way through these rescues to the UK each year.
Add to this the large numbers of dogs and over breeding that takes place in battery dog farms in Wales with their puppies sold to dealers and pet shops, the bulk importation of puppies from Eastern Europe providing some pet shops and dealers. Rescue dogs arriving from Romania, Ukraine, Turkey and Greece, many are street dogs with no experience of confinement and the constraints of living in house and taken for walks, yet they are expected to conform to our expectations. A constant stream of rescue dogs are moved one country to another in the name of rescue, with far too many finding their way to the UK when we have a crisis here ourselves? Do I hear of UK dogs in desperate need of a home being exported to Western Europe? No thankfully not but why are we so accommodating of other countries unwanted dogs, some from countries where rabies is endemic?
Being aware that dogs and puppies are arriving in the UK illegally, with reports of dogs escaping from the vehicles they are travelling in from Europe the UK Government must ensure th ere is far better enforcement measures at border controls particularly for dogs and puppies that are transported by road than there is at the moment. They should stop the bulk imports of both puppies and rescue dogs regardless of where they originate from before we are faced with an outbreak of rabies or one of the tick borne diseases not normally found in the UK dog population, some of which are a zoonosis which can spread from dog to human.
The media highlights the human mass immigration into the UK and its consequences yet disregards that we have a massive problem of dog and puppy importation which is seriously impacting on our rescue situation here and will continue to be a consequence unless Defra, MP’s in Westminster take this issue very seriously including the added risk of rabies and tick borne diseases.
Back to the Irish UK rescue situation. Below is the response received from the AHVLA DEFRA my questions in Italic their replies in normal print
When I have communicated with the AHVLA the advice given to me is 'that all dogs, cats and puppies must comply with either the Passport for Travel Scheme or the Balai Directive if classified as an 'economic activity' and this would include rescues' if they are travelling between the Irish Republic and UK. This is what I have been working on as being accurate information. My understanding is that it is the responsibility of Trading Standards to enforce the legislation if it is found that those rescues as part of an 'economic activity' who bring dogs, puppies, cats from the Irish Republic are not compliant with the Balai Directive and the Welfare of Animals Transport Order 2006 with the transporter in possession with Authorisation 2.
Please clarify that the above is correct? Yes it is correct.
If this is the case then anyone whether it is a dealer bringing puppies to sell to pet shops in the UK from the Irish Republic or a Rescue under 'economic activity' bringing in pound dogs, rescue dogs, puppies or cats should be in contact with the AHVLA before they embark from the Irish Republic to ensure all paperwork and dogs welfare status is compliant regarding rabies vaccination and passport.
Please clarify that this is correct? No. In terms of contact with AHVLA, the person undertaking the activity must notify the regional office of destination in the UK of the impending import – there is no obligation to send any paperwork in advance. Failure to notify is an offence. There is an EU requirement that there should also be an electronic notification (TRACES) generated by the country of origin when the sending country has completed the required health certificate.
If this is the case then the AHVLA should have records of all movements of dogs puppies and cats that have been brought into the UK if they have travelled under the Balai Directive or the Pet Travel Scheme if the person has in their possession 5 dogs/puppies or more not owned by them but in transit to be sold elsewhere? No, AHVLA do not hold records of all cats and dogs entering the UK. AHVLA do have records of any Balai moves (as above) which have been correctly entered on Traces. These would be available to the UK Competent Authority.
Please clarify if this is correct and if not please explain why this is not the case?
Any Balai moves which have taken place and which have not been signed off by the Competent Authority of origin on Traces would not be captured on Traces and, in the absence of an importer notification, would not be known to AHVLA.