Defra takes the issue of illegal dog and puppy imports very seriously. This is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to the smuggled dogs and puts the health of pets and people in the UK at risk. Defra is working hard to tackle the problem through a comprehensive approach that seeks to target both the supply and demand of illegally imported dogs.
International engagement is one aspect of this approach. It takes place through Defra, with input from APHA intelligence and expertise. Under Article 26 of EU Regulation 1/2005 (on the protection of animals during transport and related operations), Defra notify Member States of the origin of the transporter where a welfare issue with an import has been identified. We send these to notify the Member State so that they can take remedial action to ensure that the transporter complies in future. The notifications include details of passports and certificates. The UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) has written to her counterparts in countries where illegally imported dogs typically originate, including (most recently) her counterparts in Hungary and Serbia. The issue also continues to be raised and discussed at EU CVO meetings.