Will you help protect dogs like Myrtle from this barbaric cruelty?

Thank you for contacting me about animal welfare.

I would like to assure you that Ministers are committed to cracking down on puppy smuggling and will ban the imports of young or heavily pregnant dogs, as well as dogs with mutilations, such as cropped ears or docked tails. Applying strengthened penalties will send a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated and will enable our courts to take a firmer approach to cases where pets are illegally imported. I understand that the Government plans to take forward legislative measures to tackle puppy smuggling as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The UK has one of the most rigorous pet travel border checking regimes in the world and I am aware that every dog travelling into Great Britain on approved routes has its microchip and paperwork checked to make sure they are all properly vaccinated and are old enough to travel. In addition, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) consulted on proposed changes to the commercial and non-commercial movements of pets into Great Britain. Defra has been carefully reviewing feedback from this consultation, and I look forward to reading a summary in due course.

As you know, my colleague Selain Saxby has introduced the Animal Welfare (Import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) Bill – a bill which will combat the smuggling of those animals, as her Privat Members Bill. This bill had its second reading on the 15 of March, I spoke during the debate and you can read the entire transcript of the debate here. I am fully supportive of this bill and I am looking forward to seeing it pass through the houses.