Pet owners wanting to take their animals abroad must apply for new animal passports as war on puppy smugglers intensifies

  • One dog a day is being caught traveling into the UK on a forged passport
  • Breeders from Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia are smuggling dogs with fake documents
  • New 'secure' puppy passports planned to stop the illegal trade in pedigree dogs

By Valerie Elliott

Pet owners wanting to take their animals abroad will have to complete reams of extra paperwork due to tough new measures to prevent smugglers from Eastern Europe bringing in illegal puppies which may have rabies.

Vets around the country have reported dogs coming in to Britain from countries such as Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia with fake papers and without being vaccinated against the virulent disease.

UK port controls identified 376 dogs arriving with faulty paperwork last year, up from 89 in 2010. The increased trade has been fuelled by demand for cheap pedigree puppies sold for up to £300 on the internet instead of the £500 to £1,200 asked by some breeders in Britain.

Talulah the puppy had to go into quarantine after it was discovered he had been illegally smuggled into the country from Lithuania

Talulah the puppy had to go into quarantine after it was discovered he had been illegally smuggled into the country from Lithuania

Now Ministers have approved a secure new  pet passport to prevent criminals falsifying information. It follows alarm last October when two puppies contracted rabies in Holland within a week of being imported from Bulgaria.

From December, new pet passports will have a unique number printed on every page and the  section recording the pet’s microchip number and the date of the rabies vaccine will be laminated to help prevent fraud. The name, address and contact details of the vet will also be included.

Puppies travelling into Britain and the rest of the EU will have to be at least 15 weeks old. A 12-week minimum age for puppies to be vaccinated against rabies is being introduced and pets must wait three weeks before travelling.


Twiglet the Irish Terrier had no problems returning to the UK after a trip to the continent as he had his Pet Passport

Twiglet the Irish Terrier had no problems returning to the UK after a trip to the continent as he had his Pet Passport

For the first time, pets will also have to be checked as they cross borders on their way to the UK.
The new royal blue passports will include the date the pet was vaccinated against rabies, the date valid for travel and the vaccine expiry date. Pets must be revaccinated every five years to qualify for a passport.

Owners who already have valid pet passports are not required to buy a new one.

Valerie John, from West Drayton, West London, last month paid £700 for her pug Tallulah from what she thought was an established breeder in Hertfordshire, only to discover the dog was from Lithuania.

She said: ‘The vet spotted straight away the papers were fake. Tallulah was only seven or eight weeks old and too young to have a rabies vaccination so had to go into quarantine, which is going to cost £1,100.’

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

As someone who regularly takes a dog into the UK when we visit, I read this article with trepidation, expecting there would be some terrible changes which would make life far more difficult. Having read it twice with great care it seems to me that ............... absolutely nothing is changing! Yet another scare story from the Mail. Why do you like frightening people so much?

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Great photos. If you go to the States, you do not need that. There is no quarantine there from the UK. But there would be from Europe because of the smuggling.

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It normally budgie smugglers you see abroad

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I'm looking for a pug

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Let's hope that it's enough to stamp out this sad and disgusting trade. On a side note - if you don't want to be fleeced by a criminal then get your puppy from a registered Kennel Club breeder. And for extra brownie points you could ofcourse get your next new addition from a shelter or from a breed rescue centre. It's astonishing in this day and age how many people don't think of doing this.

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Whatever they do about pet passports, you can bet IT'S GOING TO COST A FORTUNE!

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Well let's face it, we've got everything else now, so why not rabies?

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I love my Pug - I'll get him a passport, no problemo

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Just another excuse to extort more money from animal lovers! What the point when they have microchips etc as our cat has? It cost us over £500 with pets on jets to bring our Willow home from Greece and he still got stuck down in the hold on an half empty plane last one of the season. He had all the correct paperwork, rabies tested etc, microchipped etc ... the microchip should be ID enough

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and the threat of rabies -

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