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The new Puppy Scandal

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We all know about puppy farms, many people have worked tirelessly to publish the plight of the poor breeding dogs in these breeding factories. Most people make sure when they are buying a puppy that they see the mother with the puppies and are no longer conned by ‘nice’, ‘helpful’ people that will bring the puppy to their door or meet them on the motorway.

Over the last year we have noticed an increase in puppies being imported illegally from abroad. The most common breeds have been Pugs, French bulldogs and British Bulldogs. These breeds are very popular and hence very expensive, so a lot of money can be made from selling them. I have huge concerns about this illegal trade, for both the puppy and the purchaser. Firstly, we are at risk of introducing diseases into the UK that so far we have been lucky to avoid e.g. Rabies, Leishmaniasis, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosos. There have been reports of new tick species being brought in, and this has also brought in new tick born diseases. Secondly, some of the puppies have come in on passports that have been incorrectly filled in or the timings of vaccinations have been wrong. Some of these dogs have ended up in quarantine kennels which is not great for the puppy, and very expensive for the new owner. Others are sold as if they were bred in this country which makes it nearly impossible to track this problem. Thirdly, these puppies have been transported long distances, which is stressful. We have no idea what kind of conditions the mothers are kept in and by buying one of these puppies you may have to spend a lot of money in veterinary and quarantine bills, but could also find yourself exposing your family to illnesses that you have not bargained for.

Regrettably our border controls are struggling to cope with the sudden rise in imported puppies and are currently unable to prevent the influx. The puppies are brought in on weekends when there are fewer checks. Rather than confiscating the puppies they are turned back, which mean they can try again.

Committing to taking on a dog is huge decision. Often we see people choosing the wrong breed. It is concerning how dog breeds are as much the whim of fashion as anything else in our society. We would love for people to discuss their breed choice with vets prior to making a decision as vets have a wealth of knowledge regarding the different breed traits. We suggest you write a list of what you want from a dog, and then try to match the breed to your requirements. Make sure you speak to your vet regarding any health issues you should be prepared for with the breed you choose. We cannot stress strongly enough that you must see the puppies with the mother to be sure the dog was bred on the premises. My advice is - if a deal sounds too good to be true, walk away as the likelihood is that something is not quite what it seems.

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