Northamptonshire trading standards has had to quarantine an illegally imported puppy that was given as a Christmas present because they could not rule out the risk of rabies.
It is understood the puppy was bought just before Christmas by a Northamptonshire family.
But the county council's trading standards team had to take it into quarantine just a week later because it was too young to have gone through the proper vaccination process.
It was also traced to have come from a country where rabies is present and the team could not rule out the dog was a carrier.
Now, the new owners will have to pay the additional costs for quarantine fees.
Trading Standards are using the incident to remind anyone thinking of getting a dog to be aware of illegally-imported puppies.
The main concern around illegally imported puppies is that the dogs may not be properly vaccinated and rabies-free. Puppies like this are sold via adverts on the internet, and come accompanied with incomplete or false and forged documentation which leads buyers to believe they have been imported legally or bred in the UK.
Trading standards offers the following advice to anyone planning to buy a puppy:
- Get as much information about where the puppy has come from as possible.
- Be suspicious if the seller cannot show you the puppy with its mother and litter mates.
- View the puppy where it was bred.
- If the puppy has been vaccinated ask to see the documentation. This must clearly state the veterinary practice where it was carried out.
- If the seller says the puppy has been brought in from another country it should have a pet passport with a valid rabies vaccination recorded in it.
- Remember a rabies vaccination cannot be given until the puppy is at least 12 weeks old.
- The date of import must be at least 21 days after the date of the rabies vaccination.
- Never pay for a puppy in advance.
Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for highways and place Councillor Jason Smithers said: “Pet movement controls are in place to reduce the risk of certain diseases entering the UK, such as rabies.
“If you are planning to buy a puppy it is essential that you check where it has come from and that it has had a health check by a vet. Otherwise you are risking either having to pay considerable quarantine fees, having the puppy sent back or worse.
“Anyone who has concerns about a puppy they have bought can contact their vet in the first instance.”