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Illegally imported pets? Guidance and compliance flowchart for vets in Scotland

When, who and how to report to the competent authorities if you suspect the illegal importation of pets in Scotland

Veterinary surgeons can often be the first to suspect that an animal may have been illegally imported when a client brings their pet for its first check-up. It is therefore paramount that, where appropriate, vets, Local Authority Animal Health Function (LAAHF) and APHA work collaboratively to report and act upon the suspected illegal importation of animals in a timely and effective manner.

To achieve this, the British Veterinary Association (BVA), Society of Chief Officers for Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS), Trading Standards Scotland (TSS) and the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) have developed the following guidance note and flow chart to support vets in their considerations of when and how to report the suspected illegal importation of pets.

This document provides summary guidance on navigating client confidentiality, how to report concerns of illegal imports and an overview of how local authorities are likely to respond.

If you’re concerned that an animal is illegally imported, here are our top tips:

  1. Download the joint BVA, SCOTTS, TSS and SSPCA compliance flowchart below and put it up in visible locations around your practice for staff to refer to.
  2. If you have any suspicions that the animal in your care does not comply with Pet Travel Scheme requirements on the flowchart, you can report this to your Local Authority Animal Health Function (LAAHF)
  3. You can report concerns via the Consumer Advice Scotland online portal and find out what action to expect on our flowchart.
  4. Reporting isn’t a legal requirement, but if you wish to report your suspicions and are unsure about how to navigate client or data protection read our guidance note.

Guidance for suspected illegally imported pets in Scotland


Flowchart for illegally imported pets compliance in Scotland