A CRACKDOWN on dog smuggling is on the cards following a rise in pups taken from their mothers to be sold.
Importing heavily pregnant dogs, those with cropped ears or docked tails and puppies under six months will be banned.
Traffickers have cashed in by falsely claiming that dogs are British-bred with full vaccinations — but they often die soon after arriving owing to the poor conditions they are ferried in.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Puppy smuggling is grim and we are determined to clamp down on it.
“Raising the minimum import age for puppies will help protect thousands of animals that are brought into the country each year and stop criminals looking to profit from the rise in demand for pets.”
Many people got dogs for company during the lockdowns.
But the number of pups seized by Border Force for not meeting animal welfare standards rocketed 160 per cent in the first year of Covid, from 324 in 2019 to 843 in 2020.
The Government is launching a consultation on its proposals.
RSPCA chief Chris Sherwood said it was needed urgently to protect dogs from unnecessary suffering and the public from falling victim to criminals who were trying to cash in.
Celebrity vet Marc Abraham added: “The legal and illegal importation of young puppies has encouraged dog exploitation across Europe, with puppies often separated from their mothers too early, then sent long distances often riddled with all kinds of disease, straight to their unsuspecting new owners in the UK.”
Source: The Sun