Suffolk Trading Standards are reminding people who are thinking of buying a dog to be cautious about illegally imported puppies.
The warning comes after Suffolk County Council’s Trading Standards team have quarantined a Bichon Frise puppy after 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. The puppy 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 it is vaccinated; otherwise there is a danger that the vaccine could be ineffective. A vaccine takes at least 21 days to take effect before an animal is fully protected, if this hasn’t occurred then it undermines the protections in place to stop rabies coming to the UK.
The regulations on animal imports are in place to 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.
“I would encourage anyone who is thinking of buying a puppy to read our advice carefully before adding a pet to your family.”
Trading Standards is offering the following advice:
- Get as much information about where the puppy has come from.
- Be suspicious if the seller cannot show you the puppy with its mother and litter mates.
- View the puppy where it was bred.
- If the puppy has been vaccinated, ask to see the documentation. This must clearly state the veterinary practice where this was carried out.
- If the seller informs you that the puppy has been brought in from another country, it should have a pet passport with a valid rabies vaccination recorded in it. The date of import must be at least 21 days after the date of rabies vaccination.
- Puppies must be at least 12 weeks old before having a rabies vaccination administered, then must wait a further 21 days prior to travel.
- Never pay for the puppy in advance.
Anyone who has concerns about a puppy they have bought should contact their vet in the first instance. If you suspect your puppy has been illegally imported, you can report it to Trading Standards by calling 03454 040506.