Meet the underage pets which will be dispatched for up to 33 hours and sold to UK families

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Chained to shopping carts and crammed into cages in freezing conditions, these helpless puppies face a long and arduous journey.

In this Polish slum market, ruthless merchants buy trucks full of frail but adorable dogs to be smuggled into the UK, where they are sold for huge profits to unsuspecting British families.

It is at the heart of a cruel billion pound trade that has seen thousands of dogs imported from Eastern Europe, many unvaccinated and in poor health.

A beagle puppy for whom investigations have obtained a false birth certificate. More than 3,200 puppies have been intercepted at the UK border since 2015, around 22% of them from Poland

The puppies are often raised in poverty and then shipped for up to 33 hours across the continent, often without food and little water.

Unscrupulous middlemen then pass them off as British to meet the growing demand for pets.

Dogs must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated against rabies and then wait another three weeks before they can be transported to the UK.

But a Daily Mail investigation may reveal how easily dealers can obtain false documents for puppies as young as seven weeks old, allowing them to squeeze through UK borders. Our secret probe found:

  • Two breeders in a Polish flea market who provided birth certificates falsifying the age of their puppies so that they could go through border controls;
  • Another who revealed how his associates “made a deal” with British breeders to smuggle entire litters in trucks to Britain in the spring, with gangs targeting young puppies because they have a higher sales value;
  • Inexperienced or corrupt vets vaccinating underage dogs or giving false evidence of bites so that they can be smuggled across the English Channel;
  • Ads on sites such as Gumtree offering to ship minor puppies from Eastern Europe to the UK using ‘certified’ drivers for £ 250.
Minor puppies sold in freezing cold conditions at Slomcyzn market in Poland

Minor puppies sold in freezing cold conditions at Slomcyzn market in Poland

The results sparked cross-party calls for ministers to eradicate “heinous” trade. Jim McMahon, Environmental Labor spokesperson, said: “The findings of this investigation are shocking. No puppy should suffer this way.

More than 3,200 puppies have been intercepted at the UK border since 2015, around 22% of them from Poland, according to the Dogs Trust charity.

But Claire Calder, head of public affairs at Dogs Trust, said it was only “the tip of the iceberg” as hundreds more slip through checks, while Christmas usually sparks an increase in online searches. of puppies.

Undercover Mail journalists posing as British breeders visited a sprawling market in Slomczyn, a remote village about 23 miles from Warsaw, where puppy traders have bragged about being able to forge birth certificates into dogs. minors can be smuggled into the UK.

Slomczyn is not featured in any travel guide for UK travelers. But the market is one of the must-see destinations for international puppy smugglers.

It is mostly devoted to second-hand cars and clothing, but you can also take your pick from the most sought-after dog breeds – if you know where to look.

Jozef Nowak takes care of eight-week-old Labrador he issued a fake birth certificate to say he was four months old

Jozef Nowak takes care of eight-week-old Labrador he issued a fake birth certificate to say he was four months old

Next to the main entrance is a breeders association selling puppies at basement prices, often in the UK.

It is illegal to sell animals in the markets in Poland, therefore the association owns the land on which it operates, which is technically separate from the rest of the market.

But when our undercover reporters visited us on a frosty Sunday morning last month, it didn’t take long to find those keen to bend the rules.

Dozens of merchants were gathered in corrugated iron enclosures, selling cots, cages and cartons of trembling puppies.

Birth certificate obtained for a minor beagle puppy showing he is four months old instead of eight weeks old

Birth certificate obtained for a minor beagle puppy showing he is four months old instead of eight weeks old

They were able to create fake forms from an on-site “office” within minutes. A trader, Arkadiusz Kazimierczak, offered an eight week beagle for £ 110 – the average UK price is around £ 1,400 – adding: “The birth certificate would be older, no problem “.

The courier paid £ 9 for the certificate as a deposit and Mr Kazimierczak returned about ten minutes later with the documents, which included details of the puppy’s lineage, breeder and kennel – but significantly altered his date of birth to make it appear 16 weeks.

Another trader, Jozef Nowak, gave us a fake birth certificate to make it look like a seven week old Labrador was 15 weeks old.

He offered the Labrador for £ 170, although they can go as high as £ 2,500 in the UK. A third breeder, Mariusz Sarna, revealed that his market associates sold “whole litters” to British breeders “all the time” in the spring, smuggling them “by car, truck”.

Mr Sarna said he could provide fake birth certificates for his spaniels as well and encouraged us to “pass the whole litter” because “it would be profitable” to sell them overseas.

A former chief veterinarian in Poland later said inexperienced vets would likely “vaccinate” underage puppies brought to them with false birth certificates, allowing them to be transported to the UK.

Others will just fake vaccination documents – putting Britain in danger of rabies. Vaccination of underage dogs can also be ineffective.

The Mail chose not to vaccinate or purchase Slomczyn’s puppies for ethical reasons.

Puppies in Slomcyzn market are chained to shopping carts and crammed into cages in freezing conditions

Puppies in Slomcyzn market are chained to shopping carts and crammed into cages in freezing conditions

There is no suggestion that Mr. Sarna, Mr. Nowak or Mr. Kazimierczak were directly involved in the trafficking of puppies to the UK.

But Polish dog shelters had also found breeders in Slomczyn providing false documents for underage dogs.

Michael Bizuk, of the Society for the Protection of Animals in Poland, said a breeder in Slomczyn boasted that he exported dogs to Britain using fake birth and vaccination certificates.

Mr Bizuk said she also advised “tips for putting customs officers to sleep” including “cleaning the cage well” before inspections and “putting the puppies to sleep”.

Once in Britain, Eastern European dealers sell the puppies online or to UK traders who collect them from gas stations or parking lots.

One-third of puppy ads online in the UK are said to still go to imported puppies, according to the Four Paws UK charity. Slomczyn traders did not respond to requests for comment.


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