Murdo Fraser MSP calls on residents to be on their guard following rise in illegal dog trade

Murdo Fraser MSP is calling on residents in Mid Scotland and Fife to be on their guard when buying puppy dogs after a notable increase in the number being smuggled into the UK by criminals during lockdown.

The politician was reacting to alarming details released via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Scottish Conservatives which reveal that the number of dogs intercepted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) at Dover Port and the Eurotunnel, increased from 333 in 2019 to 516 up to September this year during the pandemic.

Of the dogs intercepted by APHA officials, the number then quarantined also rose from 141 last year to 309 up to September this year.

Commenting, Mr Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “These figures are very concerning indeed. There was a big increase this year which suggests that villains are cashing in on the rise in demand for puppies during the Covid lockdown.

“I know the Dogs Trust investigations have established that there are criminal gangs in Central and Eastern Europe creating fake passports and that underage puppy dogs are being smuggled into the UK with no vaccinations, or half of the required dose.

“The Dogs Trust also found out that many of these puppy dogs are subjected to having to travel thousands of miles in the boots of cars and back of vans and then some are sold via online advertisements - often being presented as UK puppies.”

Mr Fraser continued: “It is a despicable trade for criminals to be involved in and the FOI figures show a worrying increase in the number of dogs intercepted, having been illegally transported over the English Channel.

“I would urge all residents in Mid Scotland and Fife to make sure they are buying puppies from responsible breeders. And I would also call for a crackdown on the illegal sales of dogs – this vile trade needs to be stamped out.”

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