Euro MP calls for tougher laws to tackle puppy smuggling

16:55 16 January 2014

Richard Howitt with puppies Tilly, Archie and Lottie at an RSPCA animal home in Wethersfield near Braintree

Richard Howitt with puppies Tilly, Archie and Lottie at an RSPCA animal home in Wethersfield near Braintree


An Essex Euro MP has called for tougher laws to counter the growing problem of puppy smuggling.

Richard Howitt, who is also a vice-president of the RSPCA, wants to see a tougher licensing and registration regime introduced for dogs across Europe to halt the trade in the animals.

He made the comments during a visit to the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield, near Braintree.

He said: “The illegal trade of puppies across Europe is big business and one that must be brought out of the shadows.

“Research shows that up to one in five dogs brought in the UK may come via a puppy farm, whether from within the UK or from elsewhere in Europe.

“Many puppies sold from this trade also suffer from severe behavioural problems, meaning they can be very difficult to keep as pets.”

He added: “Moreover, some 60 per cent of infectious diseases to humans originate in animals. With puppies being traded illegally across the EU, without proper checks and often in dire conditions, the threat to human and animal health is both present and dangerous.”

At the Danaher home, manager Deborah Satchell said she had been made aware of some puppy farms in Wales.

She said: “There’s a difference between those who mass produce puppies and people who’s dog has accidentally had a litter. But in a lot of cases, puppies from both of these sources do not get registered.

“There are more dogs than we have homes for and at the moment we have around 60 dogs at the home.”

The RSPCA recommends that people buying a puppy from a breeder should visit it at the place where it was bred and with its mother and litter.

More advice can be found at


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