A CHARITY has used virtual reality technology to highlight the plight of puppies smuggled into the country.

Dogs Trust has been investigating the issue since 2014 and have now taken MPs on a virtual journey from Lithuania to provide an insight into the conditions puppies are forced to endure.

Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Alan Brown attended an event hosted by Dogs Trust at the House of Commons where the charity called on the government to take urgent action to end the cruel practice.

Mr Brown said: “Dogs Trust has unveiled a horrendous trade that has been growing over the past few years and we now have the opportunity to make a positive change to stop this practice. I’ve been shocked by the findings of all four of the reports and am proud to support the case to bring an end to puppy smuggling with the introduction of tighter controls and the need for much stronger penalties to deter this horrific crime.”

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust veterinary director, added: “The findings of our fourth report into the puppy smuggling trade have revealed undeniable evidence that illegal importers remain undeterred. We believe this has only scratched the surface of the full extent of the problem.

“The lack of visual checks at ports and paltry penalties for those caught smuggling puppies are simply no deterrent and highlight an urgent need for our pet travel legislation to be redrawn. We want to see the government acting on our recommendations now to stop this horrifying trade.”