Dog Day warning on illegally imported puppies

The quarantined bichon frise

The quarantined bichon frise

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Puppy buyers are being warned by Suffolk Trading Standards to take care not to buy illegally imported animals

The warning comes today, National Dog Day, after Suffolk County Council’s Trading Standards team quarantined a bichon frise puppy when a vet discovered it had been brought into the UK illegally, unbeknown to her owners from Stowmarket.

The puppy has come from Romania and was found to have been given vaccination too early to be effective so it has been quarantined and will be re-vaccinated before it can be released.

An imported dog must be a minimum of 12 weeks old when vaccinated or it may be ineffective. A vaccine also takes at least 21 days before an animal is fully protected.

The regulations on animal imports protect the UK’s rabies free status.

Trading Standards is now advising people to make sure they know where their new puppy has come from and has had a health check by a vet.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection said: “The main issue around illegally imported puppies is that we cannot guarantee that the dogs are properly vaccinated and rabies-free.

“These puppies are usually sold via adverts on the internet and in newspaper small ads. The dogs are often accompanied by incomplete, false, and forged documentation which lead buyers to believe they have been imported legally or bred in the UK.”

Trading Standards advise getting as much information as possible about where the puppy has come from and be suspicious if the seller cannot show you the puppy with its mother and litter mates.

If the puppy has been vaccinated, ask to see the documentation, which must clearly state the veterinary practice that did it.

A puppy brought in from another country, should have a pet passport with a valid rabies vaccination recorded in it, which must be at least 21 days before it travelled and the dog must have been at least 12 weeks old.

Full details of the Pet Passport system can be found at www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview

Anyone concerned about a puppy they have bought should contact their vet. If you suspect your puppy has been illegally imported, report it to Trading Standards on 03454 040506