TRADING STANDARDS have warned city residents to be cautious about purchasing dogs following cases of illegally imported puppies.
The warning follows the quarantine of a Bichon Frise Maltese cross puppy after a Coventry vet discovered it had been brought to the UK illegally by its owners – who purchased the dog in Romania.
As the puppy was less than ten weeks old, it was quarantined and vaccinated – though the dog will have to be re-vaccinated before it can be released.
A vaccine takes at least 21 days to take effect before an animal is fully protected – if this hasn’t occurred it undermines the protections in place to stop rabies coming to the UK.
By law, an imported dog must be a minimum of 12 weeks old when vaccinated – otherwise there is a danger the vaccine could be ineffective.
Trading Standards is now advising people to ensure they know where their puppy has come from, to check its age, make sure it has all the appropriate paperwork and that it has been completed correctly.
Allan Harwood, Coventry Trading Standards and consumer protection manager, said: “The main issue with imported puppies is to make sure that they have been vaccinated and that it has had chance to be effective.
“With this case, Romania is a high risk country for rabies so our concerns were immediately raised.
“Dogs purchased abroad are often substantially cheaper but in this case the owner is now facing a bill of up to £1,000 to get the dog returned.”
If you suspect your puppy has been illegally imported, you can report it to Trading Standards by calling 03454 040506.