Dog smuggling could bring rabies to UK, MP Fitzpatrick tells Commons
- Credit: Archant
Anyone caught smuggling dogs into Britain could face tough penalties if a Bill tabled by Docklands MP Jim Fitzpatrick gets through Parliament.
His Bill tabled in the Commons last Wednesday says the government has so far “failed to monitor dog imports” following the scrapping of quarantine laws in 2012.
“Relaxing the rules has led to a free-for-all black market for dog smugglers,” the Poplar & Limehouse MP said. “They’re making a killing using a loophole.
“This illegal trade is a danger to our health. We may see a return of diseases like rabies if we don’t stop them.”
His Bill has passed the first Parliamentary hurdle and received backing from the Dogs Trust which fears relaxing quarantine laws without proper enforcement to prevent smuggling will leave the UK open to rabies.
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Ending the blood test requirement and six months’ quarantine has led to a 61 pre cent rise in people travelling with their pets.
Dogs Trust chief Clarissa Baldwin said: “Relaxing the pet travel laws has exposed people and pets to increased risk of infectious disease as appropriate measures have not been put in place to monitor the transfer of animals.
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“The Government has failed to address the problem despite repeated warnings by veterinary and welfare groups.
“The lax attitude is a monumental setback. Puppies are transported in horrific conditions, often illegally by unscrupulous traders who know there’s little chance of being caught.”
The number of illegal entries through badly-administrated vaccination or falsified paperwork rose by 400pc in just under a year, the Dog Trust has found.
Jim Fitzpatrick’s Bill introduced on March 27 now gets a second reading.