Defra takes the issue of the illegal importation of puppies and abuse of the pet travel scheme seriously. All pet animals entering Great Britain on approved routes under European Union Pet Travel Scheme are subject to documentary and identity checks. These are performed by carrier’s staff or checkers acting on their behalf. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) train and appoint carriers and pet animal checkers. APHA also undertake random audits to assess the effectiveness of the carriers’ activities. APHA work closely with carriers and their pet animal checkers to address any issues identified and provide additional training as required.
Defra is currently reviewing the operation of the Pet Travel Scheme in England and review includes the pet checking and carrier approval process. As part of the review the Department held a public consultation during the autumn of 2016. We continuing to gather evidence in preparation for putting the review report to independent scrutiny later in the year.
Since December 2015 APHA Port of Dover staff have been working in partnership with transport carriers and the Dogs Trust to identify, seize and quarantine underage puppies illegally transported into the country.