AN MP has joined forces with the UK’s largest dog welfare charity to call on the government to stop the illegal importation of puppies into the UK.

Dogs Trust is urging politicians to help stop puppy smuggling by joining their new parliamentary Puppy Smuggling Taskforce.

Every year thousands of puppies are illegally imported and sold via online adverts.

The puppies are transported thousands of miles across Europe with little water, no food, exercise or toilet breaks. Many suffer significant health problems and lifelong behavioural challenges, and some don’t survive.

Jonathon Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, has backed the Dogs Trust campaign.

For more than six years the charity has been calling on government to end puppy smuggling after exposing the trade through four undercover investigations.

Dogs Trust’s Veterinary Director Paula Boyden said: “There has never been a more urgent need to end the appalling puppy smuggling trade. Enough is enough, Government must take immediate action as too many puppies are suffering at the hands of cruel traders and too many dog lovers are being left to pick up the pieces.

Only a handful of cases of puppy smuggling have ever been prosecuted and currently there’s a longer sentence for smuggling cigarettes than puppies.

Mr Reynolds said: “At a time when demand for dogs in the UK has never been higher, I want to urge my constituents to really do their research before buying a puppy advertised for sale online, as it’s all too easy to be duped into buying a dog that’s been illegally smuggled into the country.”