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Unchecked imported dogs are a cause for concern, says vet

Mr Paul Dowie, of Companion Veterinary Clinic, Balderton. 010618LSP7-12
Mr Paul Dowie, of Companion Veterinary Clinic, Balderton. 010618LSP7-12

A vet has raised concerns about the number of imported rescue dogs from eastern Europe that well-meaning people are bringing into the country without making proper checks.

Mr Paul Dowie, owner of Companion Veterinary Clinic in Balderton, is seeing more imported dogs brought into his practice.

Mr Dowie said there were a number of issues in taking in rescue dogs of foreign origin.

He said there was uncertainty whether they had been properly vaccinated, and that they could bring tapeworm diseases.

"The British Veterinary Association is concerned about some of the diseases these animals could bring in," Mr Dowie said.

"One of them is a tapeworm called Echinococcus, which can be transmitted to humans and get into sheep meat that has caused problems in New Zealand.

"There is also tick-borne disease, which has already been found in Essex, and the worry is these could become more prevalent here."

Mr Dowie said the behaviour of some of the dogs that came to his clinic, and their suitability to be pets, was also a worry.

"When people take in a rescue dog they are expecting to take on a dog that has already been a pet, but often in Romania these are just street dogs," he said.

"They are used to scavenging for their next meal. They defend food and can often be aggressive and unpredictable.

"Some of the rehoming agencies bringing the dogs are choosing to overlook their bad temperament and relying on them being seen as an angel of salvation.

"They want to prevent these dogs being euthanised, but these dogs are putting dogs from this country on death row."

He advised people to rehome dogs from the UK and Ireland where possible.

Nottinghamshire County Council warns the owners of imported dogs they could find themselves paying expensive quarantine costs or even have the dog put down unless it has been properly vaccinated.

The council’s trading standards team has the powers to place an illegally-imported dog, cat or other mammal into quarantine for a minimum of 21 days.

They can do this if the animal has not been microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and parasites, or does not have a valid pet passport under current UK and European legislation.

Mr Gordon Wheeler, chairman of the council’s communities and place committee, said: "Where possible it is always best to buy a dog in the UK, where you can visit the breeder and check out the animal before buying.

"However, if you are buying from abroad you need to check with the breeder or importer and the paperwork that the dog has received the vaccinations at the right time, along with the other requirements to avoid the heartache of the animal going into quarantine."

People can report concerns about an illegal-imported animal by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

The council has the following tips when looking for a dog in the UK:

  • Always go to a reputable breeder and be prepared to be put on a waiting list.
  • Visit the puppy at home with its mother to see how the puppy behaves and the conditions it is being raised in.
  • Buy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder if buying a pedigree dog as these breeders must follow rules to protect the health of the puppies they sell.
  • Ask to see the relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents.
  • Consider rehoming an older dog from an animal rescue centre.

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