FOUR PAWS is conducting an international campaign against the illegal puppy trade in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Our aim is to stop the criminal actions of the dog smugglers by educating the public and applying political pressure. These smugglers are only interested in profit, not in the wellbeing of the animals themselves.
The early separation from the mother and siblings disrupts the necessary conditioning and social development which occurs in the early weeks of a dog’s life. The animals therefore become afraid of their environment and are subject to bouts of aggression or anxiety. As a result, the animals are often given away, and end up in dog pounds.
Many people support the illegal puppy trade by accident when deciding to buy a dog for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is the attraction of a good deal on the internet; sometimes it is discovering a cute puppy at a market while on holiday. Sometimes, it is sympathy which leads people to "rescue“ a "poor“ puppy from bad conditions.
Problems can appear very soon after the purchase. Many of the animals become ill, show serious behavioural problems and can even become aggressive. This is not surprising, as the puppies suffered through the first few weeks of their lives, a period which is central to the development of dogs.
A visit to the veterinarian represents the last hope for the owners. Once the vet determines that the animal is ill, it is often too late. Despite high costs and levels of care, many animals die or have to be put down.