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Crawley MP joins Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to tackle horrifying trade

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Henry Smith MP has joined forces with the UK’s largest dog welfare charity to call on the Government to stop the illegal importation of puppies into the UK.

With pet travel currently governed by EU legislation, and as we approach the end of the UK-EU transition period, the Crawley MP is supporting Dogs Trust to help stop puppy smuggling by joining their new parliamentary Puppy Smuggling Taskforce.

Every year thousands of puppies are illegally imported into Great Britain to then be sold via online adverts to unsuspecting dog lovers, having been transported thousands of miles across Europe with little water, no food, exercise or toilet breaks. Many suffer significant health problems and/or lifelong behavioural challenges. Some do not survive, leaving their buyers helpless and heartbroken – as well as out of pocket.

Henry said:

“I’m delighted to join the Puppy Smuggling Taskforce and support Dogs Trust in their efforts to raise awareness of and tackle the abhorrent puppy smuggling trade.

“At a time when demand for dogs in the UK has never been higher, I want to urge people in Crawley to really do their research before buying a puppy advertised for sale online, as it’s all too easy to be duped into buying a dog that’s been illegally smuggled into the country.

“Both Dogs Trust and I have been campaigning on this issue for many years now, and I’m proud to be able to say I’m part of the Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to help put a stop to puppies needlessly suffering at the hands of criminals.”

For over six years Dogs Trust has been calling on Government to end puppy smuggling after exposing this abhorrent trade through four undercover investigations. Current legislation is not fit for purpose – every day of Government delay is causing more preventable suffering for innocent puppies.

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director of Dogs Trust, commented;

“Sadly, we continue to see more and more heart-breaking examples of puppies being illegally imported into the country. Puppy smugglers are making vast profits by exploiting innocent puppies, breeding and transporting them in appalling conditions to sell onto dog lovers here in the UK.

“There has never been a more urgent need to end the appalling puppy smuggling trade. Enough is enough, Government must take immediate action as too many puppies are suffering at the hands of cruel traders and too many dog lovers are being left to pick up the pieces.

“We are grateful to Henry Smith MP for his support in joining the parliamentary Puppy Smuggling Taskforce to stop this cruel trade.”

Dogs Trust is calling on the Government to:

1. Raise the minimum age for puppies to be imported into the UK to six months to help make them less desirable.*

2. Bring in tougher penalties for smuggling pups to deter deceitful sellers. Only a handful of cases have ever been prosecuted and you can get a longer sentence for smuggling cigarettes than you can for smuggling puppies.

*Dogs Trust supports reintroducing a requirement for a rabies blood (titre) test before entry into the UK, together with a wait period post-vaccination which is in line with the incubation period of rabies. This means that the age at which puppies could legally enter the UK would be increased to six months.

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Langley Green, Crawley man who wielded six-inch knife and assaulted police officer jailed

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A man who assaulted a police officer after being found in possession of a knife has been jailed.

Police responded to a report of a man wielding a knife in the vicinity of Gales Drive, Crawley, in the early hours of 10 December.

He was challenged by police and started to run, but was quickly detained by PC Claire Harrison and her dog, PD Polly.

PD Polly is a five-year-old German Shepherd-Malinois cross. She is a general purpose police dog trained in various disciplines including searching open ground or buildings for suspects, tracking suspects or missing people, and searching for discarded property.

After the suspect was detained, a six-inch kitchen knife was found beneath him, which was seized.

He was identified as Ryan Evans, 27, a scaffolder, of Lark Rise, Crawley.

Whilst being transported to a police vehicle, Evans attempted to headbutt officers, before kicking out at one of them, hitting him in the chest. No visible injuries were caused.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of an offensive weapon in public and assaulting an emergency worker.

At Lewes Crown Court on 7 January, Evans was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said:

“I do not accept that being assaulted is part of any police officer’s job, and any such behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I believe an assault on a police officer or member of my police staff is an exceptional action against the rule of law and has a wider impact on policing as a whole. Violent attacks on our officers and staff can result in long-term injuries and sickness, directly reducing the amount of viable policing which consequently puts greater pressure on colleagues, increasing the risk of crime within communities.

“As Chief Constable, I am committed to providing my officers, staff and the communities of Sussex with the level of protection and safety that they deserve. Such behaviour and assaults on police officers and staff has a direct impact on my ability to do this.

“Every day across Sussex, officers and staff put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public. They do this willingly, knowing the risks involved, because they are brave and dedicated public servants.”

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