COVENTRY City Council Trading Standards are warning those thinking of purchasing puppies from abroad to take extra care.
The warning comes after a case where an American Bulldog, purchased from the Republic of Ireland, was found to be too young to be legally imported into the UK.
Consequently, the puppy needed to be quarantined for four weeks and required to be re-vaccinated against rabies.
The facts came to light when the dog’s new owner took it to a local veterinary surgery for a check-up – the surgeon soon realised the dog was aged just eight weeks, whereas it should’ve been at least 15 weeks old to have been imported.
An imported dog must be a minimum of 12 weeks old when vaccinated – otherwise there is a danger that the vaccine, which takes 21 days to have effect, could be ineffective.
The animal was seized by Coventry Trading Standards and put into quarantine for four weeks.
The owner was made to pay in the region of £800 before the animal could be returned to him.
Coun David Galliers, chair of the licensing and regulatory committee said: “This case has highlighted the need for pet owners to ensure that they are fully compliant with importation rules.
“The bill for a dog that has had to be quarantined can easily exceed £800 and the owner can ultimately face prosecution – more importantly these regulations help ensure that the UK is protected from rabies.
“Unfortunately, our Trading Standards team are increasingly becoming aware of incidents such as this, primarily as dogs offered for sale abroad can be considerably cheaper than those born here.
“It needs us all to take extra care.
“If you are considering buying a dog from abroad take time to check the documentation, buy from a reputable supplier, check the animals history and if you have any doubts speak to a vet before buying it.”
Full details of how the pet passport system can be found at www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview