Welcome to my blog

For years I have campaigned against puppy farming, dealers and pet shops, in fact any outlet that is involved in the breeding and selling of puppies by third parties. Why you may ask? Because it is a clandestine trade that lacks public awareness and Governments fail miserably to accept that puppy farming resulting in puppy trafficking is detrimental to animal welfare. Through my thoughts on my blog I will highlight some of the daily happenings from my perspective as a campaigner against the puppy trade.

Disclaimer: My name is Patricia from Puppy Alert, the opinions and views expressed on this blog are entirely my own.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Illegal Imports of Rescue Dogs and Puppies from the Irish Republic

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. 



Monday, 25 March 2013

Puppies from Eastern Europe.

Last week Channel 4 Dispatches programme highlighted the importation of puppies from Eastern Europe offered for sale by adverts placed on Internet free ads site, dealers or in pet shops.  I am pleased this was highlighted by the media; it was an issue that concerned me when I visited various London pet shops exactly one year ago and later heard that one had started to import puppies.  

Aardvark Kennels (misleading as is a high street shop) was highlighted on this programme for taking a delivery, under darkness, of puppies from a van parked outside their premises.   For anyone that did not see the programme there were 42 puppies of various pedigree breeds that had travelled by road for at least 22 hours from Slovakia in the back of a van before arriving in a UK port.   Then transported to London and delivered to the pet shop highlighted in the programme and possibly elsewhere. 

Anyone transporting puppies, dogs or cats by road over 8 hours as an economic activity must be in possession of Authorisation 2 under the EU legislation the Welfare of Animals Transport Order 2006.  The vehicle must adequately ventilated; the crates carrying the puppies must be secured to the vehicle and of the correct size.  The puppies delivered to Aardvark Kennels were in loose unsecured cages and overcrowded.   The transporter must also adhere to a route plan with adequate stops en-route to feed and water the puppies and be competent in animal welfare. 

Each puppy must be accompanied by their own Passport, microchiped prior to its vaccination against rabies, which is usually administered at 12 weeks of age, unless the vaccine manufacturers stipulates differently.   The puppy must be treated against the Echinococcus worm prior to travel to the UK plus the normal worming and vaccination treatments.  The puppy must be inspected by a vet in its country of origin as fit to travel and cannot travel until 21days starting from the FIRST day after the last rabies vaccine is administered.  They must also be accompanied by an INTRA Trade Animal Health Certificate.   Anyone transporting consignments of puppies should notify the local AHVLA DEFRA office at the destination of the premises the puppies are to be delivered to at least 24 hours before arrival and, if a certificate is required, it should be entered into the TRACES system.  Therefore it is exceedingly important that anyone transporting puppies to the UK as part of an economic activity is compliant with the current EU legislation. 
Most imported puppies should not be arriving in the UK until at least 15 plus weeks of age.  Unfortunately it is known that some puppies arriving from Eastern Europe and offered for sale are having their vaccinations too early and arriving with falsified documentation.

It is inadvisable when considering purchasing a puppy  to buy fom a pet shop, a dealer because they purchase puppies to resell from battery dog farmers.   Interernet free ad sites are used frequently by unscrupulous people including dealers and puppy farmers who wish to sell puppies without any thought as to where or how the puppy they are selling is bred or sold to providing they make money easy on the sale.   

For example puppies sold in a pet shop bred in Eastern Europe can be purchased very cheaply by the person offering the puppy for sale at an inflated price making the seller a large profit and you the purchaser a hefty veterinary bill or even worse if the puppy was imported illegally.  The purchaser will have no accurate knowledge (even though there is an address of the breeder in the Pets Passport) as to the reputation of the breeder whether the dam and sire of the puppy is of good health, free from hereditary disease or how many litters of puppies she has bred.  There will be no information as the condition at the breeding premises or what standards the breeder sets for their dog breeding business. 

According to Defra the premises of origin (meaning where the puppy is bred) must be registered in accordance with article 4 of Directive 92/65/EEC if imported for example from an Eastern European country into the UK.  Do you think the puppies for sale in our pet shops and by dealers are from registered premises?  Personally I doubt it; I await confirmation from Newham Council who are responsible for licensing Aardvark Kennels for their response.

The relaxation of quarantine rules has allowed dealers and pet shops to exploit the ease of access of puppies bred in Eastern Europe, they are cheap to purchase and easily available.  The sellers are not interested if the puppies cannot be offered for sale until after 15 weeks of age and are deprived of their early socialization (most important time is 6 to 14 weeks) when they are offered for sale to the public. They disregard the fact that many puppies are still waiting to be sold at 6 to 8 months of age!  This is unacceptable, yet Councils fail to place restrictions on a holder of a pet shop licence.
Who do we blame?  Defra for not listening to animal welfarists who warned that due to the laxing of quarantine there would be an influx of puppies into the UK from Eastern Europe sold by dealers and pet shops?  Councils such as Newham who have not and could  place extra conditions on their pet shop premises when granting and renewing a pet shop licence thus restricting the sale of puppies from Eastern Europe due to welfare concerns?

It is not too late for Defra and Councils faced with this situation to act.  Puppies should never be sold by dealers and pet shops regardless of where they are bred in the UK the Irish Republic or imported from Eastern Europe. 

If you are concerned then please write to your MP, Defra and Newham Council. 

The advice is always the same if you cannot see the premises where the puppy is bred with the puppy interacting with its mother then walk away.  It is so simple.



Thursday, 7 March 2013

Stop the illegal transport of puppies and dogs from Romania

Puppy Alert supports the action as highlighted below in the link.  It is important that anyone whether involved in the puppy trade which I abhor or bringing into the UK dogs and puppies through rescue comply with current legislation to ensure that the UK remains rabies free.  The transportation of rescue dogs is classified as an 'economic activity' and those transporting dogs and puppies must be complient. 


Worth mentioning also Channel 4 Monday 11th March Dispatches is showing a programe on the illegal transporation of puppies from Eastern Europe.