Puppy Smuggling
Puppy Smuggling

AN MP has backed animal welfare charities by supporting an ‘urgent’ new Bill aimed at tackling illegal puppy smuggling and stopping dogs with cropped ears and declawed cats from being imported into the country.

Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, attended a drop-in event at Parliament organised by a coalition of charities ahead of the Second Reading of the Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill to be held on Friday, March 15.

Mr Madders said: “I know from the size of my postbag just how strongly many of my constituents feel about animal welfare issues.

“When it comes to animal welfare legislation they have felt let down over the years on a number of occasions, so I am doing my bit to help this particular piece of proposed law to move forward.”

The Bill, introduced as a Private Members Bill by Selaine Saxby MP, will introduce specific restrictions around the importation and movement, both commercial and non-commercial, of dogs, cats and ferrets into the UK.

While details of the Bill are yet to be confirmed, charities Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust , FOUR PAWS UK and the RSPCA hope it will help tackle the illegal importation of puppies and kittens into the country, which has become a huge issue of concern over the past decade.

It will take steps towards protecting these animals from the suffering they endure as part of this trade as well as making it more difficult for those who profit from their misery, which increasingly involves gangs who are associated with serious organised crime.

It is hoped the Bill will introduce a number of restrictions including banning the importation of cats who have been declawed and dogs whose ears have been brutally cropped for aesthetic reasons. These are both painful and wholly unnecessary procedures that are already illegal in the UK ­– but remain legal in other parts of the world  – and can have lifelong implications for the animals.

By closing this loophole and blocking the importation of animals who have already had these procedures carried out, more animals will be protected from this unnecessary suffering, and this cruelty will prevent this abhorrent practice becoming normalised.

The Bill will also increase the minimum age that puppies and kittens can be imported into the country – to six months – and limit the number of animals that can be imported in a single vehicle. It will also prohibit the importation of dogs and cats in the later stages of pregnancy.

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