Some EU Member States have been illegally importing puppies as part of an illegal trade deal. Only recently, in December 2015, Dogs Trust took a landmark decision, pledging to provide care and support to illegally imported puppies during their time in quarantine.
Until Dogs Trust stepped in, seized puppies were at risk of being destroyed or turned away at the borders, which meant prolonging their journey and more suffering. Now, however, Dogs Trust have set up the puppy pilot scheme to take unwanted puppies that are seized at the ports through their time in quarantine and on to its rehoming centres where puppies are socialised and rehomed responsibly.
This is a step in the right direction, but there is much more to do. Is the EU going to take any action to make sure that the illegal trade in puppies ends?
Will the Commission provide financial support to Dogs Trust and any other organisations, which are fighting against animal cruelty?
As the Commission pointed out in a number of replies to written questions which address the issue of puppy smuggling and illegal trade in pet animals, the enforcement of EU rules on the cross-border movement of dogs and cats (animal health requirements and protection during transport) is a responsibility of the Member States and may result, where a non-compliance is detected, in the isolation of the animals under official control pending their return to the dispatch country or the adoption of any other administrative decision concerning those animals.
The Commission has taken several initiatives to assist Member States in tackling illegal trade in dogs and cats, in particular through training of officials and the creation of a network of national contact points to facilitate exchange of information and intelligence amongst competent authorities in relation to illegal practices.
Since, according to EU law, the isolation of the animals shall be applied at the expense of the person responsible for them and without the possibility of any financial compensation, the Commission is not in a position to support any organisations which would provide care to illegally introduced puppies during isolation.