Dogfishing is the term used to describe the process whereby dogs (usually puppies) are illegally smuggled into a country and sold on to an unsuspecting owner for a profit. Animal smuggling is on rise, with low life fraudsters taking advantage of potential pet owners looking to buy designer dogs or young puppies of a specific breed it is getting completely out of control.

The illegal business of dog smuggling is now huge in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Thailand, Singapore and many more countries throughout the world.

The pet care industry is one of the biggest in the world, in America it was estimated that about $72 billion was spent on pet care products in 2018, up by over $3 billion on the previous year, While the desire for dogs, the economic difference between America and its neighbour Mexico makes smuggling easier and very lucrative.

Dogs purchased in Mexico for as little as $50 are transported to the U.S. where Americans are willing to pay a $1000 or more. Small dogs like Chihuahuas, Poodles and French Bulldogs are very sought after, as such they can be even more expensive.

Many of the dogs smuggled are kept in inhumane conditions, they are poorly bred and can be carrying life threatening conditions such as Distemper or the Parvovirus, which lead to an early death. This causes huge vet bills and heartache to the owners, as well as putting other, healthy dogs at risk. The people (if you can call them people) involved in this business are interested in one thing, making money, they couldn’t care less about the welfare of the animals or the feelings of the people they sell them to.

This situation is mirrored all over the world, in Thailand, China and Vietnam it as become a massive problem, in one month its not rare for a Thai patrol to come across 800 or more dogs inhumanely packed into wire cages.

In the U. K and across Europe, dog smuggling as escalated rapidly over the last few years, puppies as young as four weeks old are being illegally smuggled, with very little being done to deal with the problem. The U.K as become a telling example of how policy can affect the global rise of dog smuggling.

The U. K is currently operating under European rules, their Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) introduced in 2012 allows dogs of 15 weeks of age to travel to and from the U. K and as a very lax stance on vaccinations. Many Animal Welfare Organisations want this to be changed. The hope is that PETS will be replaced in the U. K after Brexit with stricter and tighter regulations. Any changes are not guaranteed to put an end to puppy smuggling, as long as their is demand for designer breeds, punishments for anyone involved need to be stronger.

Buyers can help eradicate puppy smuggling, by being more careful when buying a new pet. Try to buy from a reputable breeder whenever possible, if you have any doubts then don’t buy. Make sure the dog as all the necessary paperwork, investigate the source you are buying from, ask to see the parents of the dog, preferably at the sellers home, this way you can check out the conditions it is being raised in. Don’t purchase a dog from a seller who is selling more than one breed, get your new dog checked out by a vet, before buying if possible, any doubts, walk away.

It is your decision whether you buy the dog or not, but it is also you who will pay the consequences further down the line, if your dog hasn’t been bred and vaccinated properly, it is not worth the risk. Remember, if the dog as been smuggled then the seller won’t tell you anything, all they are after is your money, by buying a dog off these people, you are just giving them the ammunition to do the same to someone else.

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michael simpson

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