Puppies found covered in oil after being illegally smuggled into UK

The puppies were seized at Dover port during lockdown, having been illegally imported from Romania despite the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the UK preventing non-essential travel. The puppies were found in an appalling condition, drenched in oil and suffering from diarrhoea
The puppies were seized at Dover port during lockdown, having been illegally imported from Romania despite coronavirus restrictions in the UK preventing non-essential travel (Picture: Dogs Trust / PA Wire)
Six puppies drenched in oil were rescued from the back of a van after they were illegally smuggled into the UK from Romania. The Dogs Trust has warned people of the risks of buying dogs via online adverts – in case they are being ‘dogfished’ and they haven’t come from where owners think.

It comes as the charity says demand for puppies has spiked during lockdown, and it has rescued dozens of smuggled pups which were destined to be sold on to unsuspecting UK buyers.

In a recent bust, six young dogs were found covered in sticky oil in the back of a van at Dover port.

They had been illegally imported from Romania – underage and after a journey that would have taken more than 24 hours – despite the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the UK preventing non-essential travel, the charity said.

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Paula Boyden, the Dogs Trust’s veterinary director, said smugglers have been attempting to take advantage of the situation.

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‘It is absolutely heartbreaking that we continue to see dogs being illegally imported into the country, often in terrible conditions to make huge profits for cruel puppy smugglers,’ she said.

‘We might be in the midst of a pandemic, but these devious sellers will still use every trick in the book to scam unsuspecting dog lovers.

Picture of one of the puppies covered in oil
The puppies were found in an appalling condition, drenched in oil and suffering from diarrhoea (Picture: Dogs Trust / PA Wire)
A puppy being nursed back to health
The Dogs Trust says there has been a spike in demand for puppies during lockdown, and smugglers have taken advantage of this (Picture: Dogs Trust / PA Wire)
Puppy being shaved
The puppies had to be shaved to fully remove the oil. They are now being nursed back to health (Picture: Dogs Trust / PA Wire)

‘Sadly, it’s all too easy to be “dogfished” and it can be very difficult to know if you are buying a puppy that has been smuggled.’

The three Maltese, two Havanese and one bichon frise pups, aged around 11 weeks old, were found in an appalling condition and suffering from diarrhoea. They were taken into the Dogs Trust’s care and had to be shaved to get rid of the oil. They will be rehomed responsibly when they are fit and able.

The charity has also saved 12 heavily pregnant mothers, who have given birth to 53 puppies worth around an additional £100,000 to cruel smugglers.

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Ms Boyden added: ‘We would advise you to always see a puppy with and interacting with their mum and go and see it more than once.

‘Ask lots of questions, and ask to see vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract. If you have any doubts or it feels too good to be true, as hard as it may be, walk away and report the seller.’

The charity is asking the nation to consider whether now really is the right time to be getting a dog and, if it is, to make sure they are sourcing their puppy responsibly without falling victim to illegal puppy smugglers.

The Dogs Trust’s Puppy Pilot scheme has rescued 1,167 dogs since it began in December 2015, with the most popular breeds including dachshunds, French bulldogs, Maltese and even larger breeds such as chow chows.

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