‘Stop and think’ before buying dogs from abroad, says vet

One of the UK’s leading vets has told Radio 1 Newsbeat people need to “stop and think” before buying dogs from abroad.

It’s after Love Island stars Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury revealed that a puppy they’d bought from Russia died just six days after they got him home.

The couple, who met on the show in 2019, say they’re “heartbroken”.

But the company that sold them the dog insists he was healthy and says it only uses “reputable” Russian breeders.

Molly Mae posted on Instagram last month, saying her boyfriend Tommy had bought her a Pomeranian puppy from Russia for her birthday.

Fluffy, wide-eyed and small enough to fit in your lap – they’re a popular breed with influencers because, basically, they’re really cute.

They can cost thousands of pounds and a quick Google search will find you a number of breeders on mainland Europe offering to “ship” the dogs worldwide within days.

Less than a week after Mr Chai arrived in the UK, though, Molly Mae put up a statement saying he’d been “taken ill in the last few days and tragically passed away”.

Some of Molly-Mae’s fans on Twitter questioned why she needed an imported puppy from Russia, when so many dogs in the UK are in need of homes.

But Chair of the British Veterinary Association Daniella Dos Santos says they’re noticing an “increasing number of puppies being purchased from abroad”.

She says people are often drawn in by a “cute picture” and a good price – but they would always advise people to stick with UK breeders and do as much research as possible to make sure the dog has been well cared for.

“If you’re buying a puppy you should be researching where they’re bred, seeing the environment they’ve been brought up in and preferably seeing them with their mother as well.

“That’s all very difficult when they’re coming from abroad.”

Daniella Dos Santos

She says these dogs are sometimes forced to “undergo very long car journeys” to get them to the UK, which can put their health at risk.

“They’re often transported in unsanitary conditions without enough space or food or water – and sometimes they’re coming into the country far too young with paperwork that isn’t accurate.”

Ultimately, she says, this can lead not only to health problems, with dogs carrying foreign strains of certain illnesses, but behavioural problems too.

In a statement to Newsbeat, though, the company that sold Mr Chai, Tiffany Puppies, has insisted he was a “a healthy dog”.

“I only work with trusted people and have a small network of reputable breeders who care for their dogs to the very highest standards and see animals as part of their family,” said Tiffany Puppies in a statement.

“I have rigorous processes in place to check animal health and the suitability of forever homes providing support and guidance for health and wellbeing throughout.

“I have worked with dogs my entire life and this has never happened before.”

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