A flowchart has been developed by the National Animal Health and Welfare Panel (NAHWP) and British Veterinary Association, with assistance from Dogs Trust, to assist vets in England on how and when to report suspicions of illegal pet imports. The advisory material also provides additional information on how local authorities could respond, and educational information on what to do in scenarios where someone has a pet passport for the animal.
John Chaplin, NAHWP contingency planning lead, stated: “Vets are often on the front line when it comes to identifying suspect illegal imports and the recent BVA survey has highlighted a lack of clarity on how any concerns can be reported. Local authorities are tasked with responding to potential breaches of the pet passport rules and work closely with the APHA to quickly respond to all suspect cases.”
“BVA releases a flowchart for guidance to vets.“
Daniella Dos Santos, President of the BVA, stated: “Veterinary teams can often be the first to suspect that an animal may have been illegally imported when an owner takes their pet for its first check-up. But our surveys have identified a compelling need for clearly defined routes and mechanisms for vets to more easily report suspected cases of illegal imports. Our flow chart and supporting guidance aim to empower vets to report any such cases, thus helping to tackle the scourge of illegal importation and protecting animal welfare, both of the imported dogs and the larger canine population in the UK. I would encourage veterinary teams to put up the poster in their practices and use it to help report any suspicions to relevant authorities with ease.”
Paul Boyden, Director of the Dogs Trust Veterinary, stated: “It’s clear from our recent research with vet professionals that reporting dogs suspected of being illegally imported into the UK is not as straightforward as it seems. More needs to be done to break down the barriers they face and build confidence among vets in the reporting process, so when they report a suspected case, they feel assured it will be handled promptly and consistently.”