Pets are purchased and sold at will. Legally they are considered property which may be disposed of within the limits of the legal system. For many years now, there has been a lively cross-border trade, especially in young pedigree animals of all kinds. As with every business practice, numerous – sometimes dubious – providers scent lucrative profits. To distinguish them from serious breeders is often hardly possible for prospective buyers if the animal is bought online. Dog puppies are particularly affected by this. During the corona year 2020, the demand for dogs from abroad increased strongly again. This ruthless business is often associated with great animal suffering.
According to the dog database Amicus
of Identitas AG, there are currently around 530,000 registered dogs living in Switzerland, and the number has been increasing for some time. On December 31, 2020, there were 11,580 more registrations than the previous year, which means an increase of 2.2%. More than half of these dogs originate from abroad, as Identitas confirms upon request. In 2020 alone, for example, around 30,700 dogs were imported into Switzerland, which means that almost 85 animals crossed the Swiss border every day. That is more than twice as many dogs as in 2008 (12,000), according to a study by Swiss Animal Protection SAP
. Additionally, the percentage of puppies aged between 56 and 98 days rose sharply by 28% compared to the previous year, according to Identitas. According to the estimation of the FSVO, there is a large number of dogs that have either not been cleared through customs at all and/or have been imported as accompanying pets and then have been resold. Both of which are against the law. What also stands out is that since spring 2020, twice as many fatally ill puppies have been admitted to the animal hospital
in Zurich than before Corona.
One reason for the flourishing trade in puppies from abroad is that they are usually cheaper than animals from Swiss breedings. Furthermore, they are often conveniently and easily offered on the internet with the option of “home delivery”. Puppies of trendy small dog breeds such as Chihuahua, Miniature Spitz, French Bulldog or Pug are not even available in Switzerland in a number corresponding to the demand, which is why they are among the most frequent victims of the selfish business with “cheaply produced” puppies. In mass breedings, females are continuously mated. Moreover, the puppies are usually separated far too early from their mother and siblings. Pathogens and parasites can spread rapidly due to the large number of animals, and the housing and transport conditions are usually deplorable. All this leads to permanent psychological and physical damage to both the mother and the young animals. It is not uncommon that the recipient of the animal in Switzerland receives an illegally imported puppy that is already fatally ill shortly after its arrival. In addition to the emotional distress of accompanying the suffering animal on its final journey, the administrative and possibly criminal expenses associated with the illegal import also result in high veterinary costs for the animal owner, which far exceed the supposedly favorable purchase price. Costs of 8,000 Swiss francs and more are no exception.