Help to combat puppy smuggling this Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, you might be thinking about buying a puppy to join your family.

But there are puppies being illegally transported into our country each year and it is important to make sure that you buy from a licenced breeder.

New legislation came into effect in October 2018, overhauling current animal licensing laws and providing East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) with more powers to combat puppy smuggling in the district.

Dog breeders operating as a business, must now apply for a licence from East Northamptonshire Council. Adverts selling pets must include a photograph of the pet, the country of origin and residence of pet, licence number and the name of the local authority issuing the licence.

Officers at ENC are able to suspend, vary and revoke licences where conditions are not being complied with, where the law is being breached or where it is necessary to protect animal welfare. If the council becomes aware of dog breeding taking place without a licence, officers are also able to investigate with a view to prosecuting the individuals concerned.

Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, said:

“The recent changes in legislation will enable our officers to help stop puppies being sold illegally in our district, and ensure residents have the essential information to make sure that they are buying pets from a responsible breeder.

“If you’re looking to buy a puppy this festive season, it is important that you check that breeders hold the relevant licence, to make sure that the person selling is doing so legitimately.”

To check whether a business holds the correct licence, or to apply for a licence, visit: or contact the licensing team: Central Licensing Administration Unit, East Northamptonshire Council, Cedar Drive, Thrapston, Northamptonshire NN14 4LZ, Telephone: 01832 742102, Email:

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