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Lochaber and other Highland region residents have been warned to make sure when buying a puppy that they buy purchase their new pet from reputable sources.
Concerns have been raised that people are illegally importing dogs from Europe to sell without the correct health checks or paperwork.
Highland Council’s Environmental Health team is carrying out detailed investigation into a number of possible cases supported by Police Scotland and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
Councillor Allan Henderson (Caol and Mallaig), who is chairman of the council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee, said it was very concerning to note that illegal importation is occurring in the area.
‘This criminal activity can lead to risks to animal welfare but also to human health. I advise anyone buying a puppy to check the buyer and if possible see the puppy’s mother,’ he said.
‘Please don’t buy from someone you don’t know in a supermarket car park. A puppy can cost hundreds of pounds and unfortunately if found to be illegally imported buyers may have to pay quarantine costs or have the dog put down.’
Alan Yates, environmental health manger, said his team had carried out two enforcement visits in the Easter Ross area last week to investigate cases of puppies being illegally imported.
‘This followed concerns being raised by vets after inspecting puppies brought in for routine health checks by their new owners,’ he said.
‘Officers from environmental health lead the visits supported by officers from Police Scotland and APHA. At this stage I cannot comment further on the active investigation, but I encourage anyone considering buying a puppy to ensure it is coming from a reputable source.’
Asked if there had been any enforcement visits in Lochaber, Mr Yates told us: ‘We are not aware of any cases in Lochaber. However, we know people will travel distances to buy a puppy and they may possibly encounter people making these illegal sales.’
For further advice visit www.buyapuppysafely.org