Government to unveil new laws to combat puppy smuggling, minister confirms

New laws are to be unveiled shortly to combat puppy smuggling, a Defra minister has confirmed.

Victoria Prentis said the Government will be acting “very, very shortly” after a rise in animal welfare cases as a result of greater demand for pets during the Covid pandemic.

“When the new legislation is introduced, it will reduce the number of dogs, cats and ferrets that can be moved under the pet travel rules, in order to prevent unscrupulous traders from exploiting those rules,” she said.

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“As we all know, there have been loopholes in the rules, and we do not want to encourage the importation of animals that are heavily pregnant because we make a rule reducing the age limit on puppies.

New laws will be introduced shortly to prevent puppy smuggling

“It is really important that we draft this new legislation very carefully, in conjunction with those who work on the ground, so that we can make laws that are enforceable.”

The Minister added: “Pets imported illegally are often in poor health, having been brought up under poor welfare conditions and subject to horrific abuses. There are many reasons for making sure that we get this absolutely right.

“Such rules could include a new minimum age for puppy imports and restrictions on the import of heavily pregnant bitches. It is important that we are able to introduce these regulations in a very specific way that enables us to close loopholes.”