Mark Whitehead 22 December 2015

Illegally imported puppies given as Christmas presents may die within hours, warn local government leaders

Illegally imported puppies given as Christmas presents may become sick or even die within hours, local government leaders have warned.

Families may be left devasted because their new pet is prey to illness after being snatched from its mother too young, according to the Local Government Association.

It says puppies bred abroad often endure appalling conditions as they are transported hundreds of miles across Europe, with some not surviving the journey.

Trading standards officers in Northamptonshire recently highlighted cases of puppies being illegally brought to the UK from Slovakia and Moldova, while in Warwickshire a dog owner was forced to pay over £1,000 in quarantine fees for an imported Rottweiler puppy.

Cllr Nick Worth, the LGA's regulatory services spokesman, said: 'We know that some families will be keen to welcome a new puppy to the family at Christmas time, but I urge people to find a pet from a reputable breeder or a rehoming centre.

'Unwittingly buying illegal puppies can not only end in upset for families when their new pet becomes ill or worse, but the money funds this cruel trade that sees puppies removed from their mothers and forced to endure long journeys in horrific conditions at just weeks old.'

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