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Vets must report suspicions of illegal imports

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By Matthew Limb

Vets have been urged to fulfil their professional duties to report suspected animal welfare violations and client wrongdoing as part of wider efforts to dismantle the illegal puppy trade.

Leading animal health investigators told the BSAVA conference that vets’ role was vital in building a chain of evidence to help prosecute importers and breeders who abused dogs and risked the spread of disease.

Sharon Edwards, a City of London animal health inspector, and Mark Rafferty, chief investigator for the Scottish welfare charity SPCA, said vets should not be deterred from reporting concerns by client confidentiality and reminded them of their code of conduct.

Edwards said: ‘Your code says you should disclose to us if the animal welfare or public interest is compromised, an animal shows signs of abuse, or there is some other significant threat to public health, and very importantly to help in the prevention, detection or prosecution of a crime.

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