In October 2015, HMRC and animal welfare groups raised the problems involving puppy exploitation on the black market. They raised awareness on the matter that tens of thousands of puppies were being reared in unregulated conditions and sold illegally, every year.
This problem has caused serious amounts of tax loss for HMRC, estimating to £5,393,035 from 257 separate cases. Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said “It is utterly appalling that anyone would want to treat puppies in such an inhumane way and on such a scale. It’s also deeply unfair to all of the legitimate businesses who do pay the right tax, and the total recovered by the taskforce is equivalent to the annual salaries for more than 200 newly qualified teachers.”
Targeted traders and breeders included:
• Three puppy breeders in Scotland owing a total of £1,162,000
• Former Crufts judge in the Midlands who received a £185,000 bill
• Puppy breeder in Somerset owing £114,000
• Puppy breeder in Swansea owing a £110,000 bill
HMRC has worked closely with a number of agencies, such as SSPCA, RSPCA, Police, APHA, Trading Standards and other welfare groups. HMRC is also involved in Operation Delphin, a multi-agency collaboration across the UK which is designed to tackle illegal puppy smuggling and the consequences it brings.
Head of Scottish SPCA has stated that the puppy trade is a big business where thousands of dogs are being brought into the country illegally every year. This issue mainly comes from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. They have seized 27 puppies smuggled from Ireland at Cairnryan Port in Dumfires. HMRC urge everyone to sign the #SayNoToPuppyDealers pledge.
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