TWO illegal shipments of 67 puppies were intercepted on Slovakia’s borders with Hungary and the Czech Republic. The puppies, of various breeds, were likely to be sold abroad, and have been placed in Sloboda Zvierat’s (SZ, Freedom of Animals) temporary quarantine.

SZ is a non-profit organisation that advocates for the welfare of animals in Slovakia.

Police specialists, along with the State Veterinary and Food Administration (ŠVPS), conducted inspections on the weekend of July 26-27 of three vehicles containing shipments of dogs, two of which turned out to be illegal, SZ inspector Romana Březinová told the TASR newswire.

On July 26, Romanian citizens attempted to export 17 puppies across the border with Hungary at Šahy, Nitra Region. A Slovak citizen tried to illegally export 50 dogs across the border with the Czech Republic in Kúty (Trnava Region) the next day.

The exporters failed to meet several requirements. “The dogs didn’t have microchips, they had neither pet passports nor TRACES protocols, and they were younger than the allowed three months,” said Březinová, as quoted by TASR.

“We clearly know that this is just a drop in the bucket, as Slovakia belongs among the biggest illegal producers and exporters of puppies in the EU,” Březinová stressed. “The number, around 60,000, includes only official exports, while illegal ones are estimated at 100,000 each year by Sloboda Zvierat,” she added.

According to Březinová, the vast majority are inexpensive dogs of various breeds with no official documents from unregistered parents, despite the fact that the law requires animals used for breeding to be registered.

By law, puppies younger than three months are only allowed to travel with their mother, they must have a microchip and a pet passport, and they need to have been vaccinated against rabies.