Beware of buying imported animals

THURROCK Trading Standards is warning potential pet owners of the dangers and costs of buying pets without checking where they have come from.

Increasing numbers of puppies are being imported illegally from Eastern Europe to the UK where puppy prices are much higher. They are being sold through adverts on the internet and in newspaper small ads as UK bred dogs.

These animals are often accompanied by bogus histories (breed and pedigree information) and forged documents. Many come into the UK without first having been vaccinated against rabies. Other imported puppies are vaccinated too young before being imported when the vaccinations are not affective.

Checks by vets often uncover the real history when new owners first take their animals for treatment. If a pet is found to be illegally imported and non-compliant with disease control rules owners could face costly quarantine and vet bills.

Thurrock Council portfolio holder for Public Protection Councillor Angie Gaywood said: “If you are planning to buy a pet dog or cat, it is important that you make some basic but important checks. Do not buy a cat or dog from unknown sources. If you are planning to bring a new animal into your home, it’s important that you know where it comes from and where it was born.

“Be particularly careful when buying dogs or cats advertised on the internet or through local media. Illegally imported dogs and cats may carry diseases such as rabies which is still a problem in some Eastern European countries like the Ukraine and Romania. Ultimately it is illegal to bring animals like this into the country and Trading Standards will investigate.”

Anyone planning to buy a cat or dog should:

Buy your animal from a reputable supplier. Advice is available from organisations such as the RSPCA.
Check the animal’s history by speaking to a previous owner. If you are buying a puppy or kitten, you should ask to see it with its mother and the rest of the litter.
View the animal and its documentation before you buy. If it was born outside of the UK it must have either a pet passport or a veterinary certificate. The pet passport needs to confirm that it was vaccinated against rabies at the correct age (dated), according to the manufacturer’s data sheet, normally at three months of age. There should also be a micro-chip number and if it is a dog the date of worming.
If you have any doubts about an animal speak to your vet before agreeing to buy it.
For more information visit: www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/buying-cat-dog/ or contact Thurrock Trading Standards on 01375 652329.

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