THURROCK’S Council’s Trading Standards is warning people of the dangers and possible 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 prices are much higher.
They are being sold through adverts on the internet and in newspaper small ads as UK-bred dogs.
Thurrock Council portfolio holder for Public Protection Cllr Angie Gaywood said: “These animals are often accompanied by bogus histories and forged documents.
“Many come into the UK without having been vaccinated against rabies, others are vaccinated too young and too soon before being imported when the vaccinations are not affective.”
She explained that 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.
Cllr Gaywood added: “If you are planning to buy a pet dog or cat, it is important you make some basic but important checks.
“Don’t buy them from unknown sources. If you are thinking of bringing a new animal into your home, it’s important 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 the media. Illegally imported dogs and cats may carry diseases such as rabies which is still a problem in some eastern European countries.”
The counci’s trading standards team says anyone planning to buy a cat or dog should:
Buy the 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 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.