A SUSSEX MP is calling on the government to crack down on the illegal importation of puppies into the UK.

Crawley MP Henry Smith is working alongside animal welfare charity Dogs Trust to encourage other politicians to join a new Puppy Smuggling Taskforce.

The organisation wants the government to raise the minimum age for puppies to be imported into the UK to six months to help make them less desirable, and bring in tougher penalties for those caught smuggling.

Dogs Trust’s veterinary director Paula Boyden said: “Sadly, we continue to see more and more heart-breaking examples of puppies being illegally imported into the country.

“Puppy smugglers are making vast profits by exploiting innocent puppies, breeding and transporting them in appalling conditions to sell onto dog lovers here in the UK.

The Argus:

“There has never been a more urgent need to end the appalling puppy smuggling trade. Enough is enough, government must take immediate action.”

The charity welcomed Mr Smith’s support of its cause, and the Conservative MP said he was “delighted” to join the Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to help “tackle the abhorrent puppy smuggling trade”.

He said: “At a time when demand for dogs in the UK has never been higher, I want to urge my constituents to really do their research before buying a puppy advertised for sale online, as it’s all too easy to be duped into buying a dog that’s been illegally smuggled into the country.

“Dogs Trust has been campaigning on this issue for many years now, and I’m proud to be able to say I’m part of the Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to help put a stop to puppies needlessly suffering at the hands of criminals.”