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I am delighted to join Dogs Trust Parliamentary Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to help put a stop to the illegal importation of puppies into the country.

I have spoken out against this cruel and shocking practice repeatedly in Westminster since I was first elected in 2015.

Since 2014, Dogs Trust has been exposing the widespread abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). The scheme, intended for pet owners to be able to take family pets on holiday, has long been used as a cover by unscrupulous traders to illegally import thousands of puppies from Central and Eastern Europe into the country. Dogs Trust has highlighted the continued and growing abuse of the system through four investigations, yet sadly little progress has been made to suggest the issue is even close to being dealt with. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic with restrictions on travel, it continues to be the case that puppies are illegally brought into the country.

As we approach the end of the UK’s transition to exit the EU, the opportunity to fundamentally change the legislation becomes entirely possible, as the importation of dogs is currently regulated by EU legislation. Now is the time for the U.K. Government to act.

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