East Renfrewshire’s MP has called on the UK Government to take urgent action to end puppy smuggling.

Kirsten Oswald spoke out after meeting with representatives of the Dogs Trust at Westminster.

The charity outlined to MPs how they can work together to end the illegal trade by ensuring the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill is passed by parliament.

It is also calling on the government to include visual checks on dogs entering the UK.

The Kept Animals Bill was introduced to parliament last year and includes provisions to tackle puppy smuggling but has not progressed any further over the past 12 months.

Ms Oswald told the Barrhead News: “I was shocked to learn about the horrendous ways puppies are smuggled into the UK and the poor conditions they endure.

“I hope the Dogs Trust’s campaign will motivate the government to progress with the Kept Animals Bill and include the recommendations of a requirement for visual checks.

“The Kept Animals Bill was introduced to parliament over a year ago and hasn’t made any progress since November last year. During this time, puppies and pregnant dogs continued to be smuggled into the UK.”

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust veterinary director, added: “We have spent eight years exposing this abhorrent trade and our investigations have revealed that puppy smugglers remain undeterred and are continuing to bring in thousands of underage puppies and pregnant dogs, often in the most dreadful conditions.

“We are grateful to all the MPs who support our work to combat this problem and we hope the government will hasten to progress the Kept Animals Bill and act on our recommendations to include the requirement to carry out a visual check on all dogs entering the country because, without them, there is no chance of ending this horrifying trade.”