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Pet travel
RSPCA calls for tighter checks on imported dogs

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EUROPEAN rules on the non-commercial movement of pets are ‘being evaded on a massive scale from certain countries’, the RSPCA is claiming. It believes that the rules are being routinely used by commercial dog traffickers to avoid controls and that enforcement is failing to keep up. It is calling on the Government to tighten checks at ports to stop loopholes in the rules being exploited by international puppy traders.

In a report published last month, the charity assesses changes in the numbers of dogs entering the UK following the harmonisation of European pet travel regulations in January 2012. It notes that the non-commercial trade in dogs has increased by more than 88 per cent into Great Britain since the rules were changed. It suggests that, while many of the dogs coming to Great Britain are travelling legitimately under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), a dramatic rise in the number of dogs coming from at least four countries – Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania – cannot be accounted for solely by non-commercial movements. The report notes that data show that, in 2012, there was a 450 per cent increase in dogs imported from Hungary, a rise of 1150 per cent in dogs coming from Romania and a 507 per cent increase in dogs coming from Lithuania, all compared with the previous year. According to the RSPCA, these countries all have widespread puppy farming and all have endemic rabies. It also notes that, between 2012 and 2013, no dogs were imported from …

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