RSPCA concerned about rising number of commercial dog imports


The number of dogs imported to the UK for sale between June and October has doubled compared to last year. 

Data from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) shows that commercial dog imports have gone up since May, reaching an all-time high in October.

Dr Sam Gaines from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is concerned about the number of dogs that are being imported to the UK at the moment.

“We don’t know anything about the conditions in which these puppies have been bred or reared in when they’re coming from another country. A particular concern is that they’re having to endure long journeys, right at a time in their life where being exposed to stressful events can have long lasting effects.

“What we do know is that dogs that are irresponsibly bred in low welfare conditions are much more likely to be at risk of health issues and behaviour problems as they get older.”

Dr Sam Gaines, Head of Companion Animals at RSPCA

The increasing number of dog imports matches the high demand for pets during lockdown.

The RSPCA says that the number of pets taken on during lockdown has risen due to people being at home more and working from home.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, RSPCA has seen a sharp increase in visitors on their website.

They have had more than 30 million visitors alone in the section of the website dedicated to finding a pet. The fostering page attracted almost three times as many visitors as in 2019.

Rise in demand before Christmas

With the lead up to Christmas, Dr Sam Gaines is concerned about another spike in demand.

“We fear that we will get even more people wanting puppies, so people are going to have to be incredibly careful in making sure that they get a puppy that has the best chance of living a happy and healthy life.”

RSPCA urges to look beyond the pandemic

While at the moment people are spending a lot of time at home with their pets, there will be a time when they will return to work, Dr Sam Gaines says.

“Puppies are a significant commitment. So it’s about making sure that you are absolutely 100 percent confident that you can care for that puppy throughout their life.”

The RSPCA urges everyone who decides on getting a puppy to do their research first.

Here are some tips from Dr Sam Gaines:

Will you be getting a dog this winter? Tweet us @bhameastside.


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