Three 10-week-old puppies have been taken into quarantine by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards service after they were illegally imported into the UK.
The puppies were imported from Latvia without being vaccinated against rabies.
Officers visited a property in Corby after receiving information from Swindon Borough Council about the sale of a fourth puppy to a Swindon resident. That puppy has also been put into quarantine.
The puppies were being sold for £600 each via the website Gumtree.
Trading Standards have started an investigation into the offences that have been committed.
For dogs, cats and other mammals to enter the UK, it is necessary for them to have either spent four months in approved quarantine kennels or to have complied with the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to prevent rabies from entering the UK.
The puppies were all too young to have been vaccinated against rabies as this can only take place once they are three months old.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council deputy leader and cabinet member for strategic infrastructure and public protection said: “It appears that the puppies arrived in this country illegally, breaching regulations that are in place to safeguard against rabies and I am pleased that trading standards were able to act so quickly to take the dogs into quarantine.
“Public health is a key priority for our county and therefore we take any infringement very seriously and will take the appropriate action as quickly as possible.
“Increasing numbers of puppies are being imported illegally into the UK from across Europe and are being sold via adverts on the internet and in newspaper small ads.
“Although you might think you are getting a bargain, you risk being hit by substantial costs with quarantine fees potentially more than £1,000 and not to mention the emotional costs of having a puppy taken from your home.”
Trading standards have issued the following advice for people when buying a puppy:
Be suspicious if the seller cannot show you the puppy with its mother and litter mates. View the puppy where it was bred.
Get as much information about where the puppy has come from and beware if the seller is from outside the UK.
If the puppy has been vaccinated (it must be at least three calendar months to receive a rabies vaccination) ask to see the documentation. This must clearly state the veterinary practice where this was carried out. Be suspicious if the address of the veterinary practice is outside the UK.
If the seller informs you that the puppy has been brought in from another country it should have a pet passport or a veterinary certificate with a valid rabies vaccination recorded in Section 4 of its passport document.
NEVER agree to have the puppy delivered to your home address or to meet the seller to collect the puppy. If the seller wants you to do this be very suspicious.
NEVER pay for the puppy in advance.
Anyone with information about illegally imported or sold puppies can inform Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.