A mobile Hungarian vet has admitted by-passing rabies laws and illegally importing puppies to the UK.
Viktor Molnar (aged 58) pleaded guilty to bringing in five miniature “teacup” dachshund puppies and running an illegal pet shop from his home in Belroy Court, St Anns Road, Prestwich.
The conviction was the result of an investigation by Bury Licensing Service, who became involved after retired teacher Mary McFarlane, from Paisley, had travelled down to Prestwich and bought a miniature dachshund puppy called Janet from Molnar for £700.
The puppy was sick on the journey home so Mrs McFarlane contacted Molnar requesting a copy of Janet’s pet passport. She also took the puppy to Abbey Veterinary Group in Paisley where the dog was estimated to be just 8 to 12 weeks old, much younger than the age suggested on the vaccination card, and therefore too young to have been legally brought into the UK. The vaccination card did not show any record of rabies vaccination nor multi-headed tapeworm treatment, so Renfrewshire Council was contacted and the puppy placed in quarantine.
The information and documents were passed to Bury Council, who visited Molnar’s home on 26 February 2016. Animal health inspector Sandra Coombes saw four adult dogs and five miniature dachshund puppies in the flat. She was told that the puppies had arrived by van the night before, having been purchased online by Molnar, and had Hungarian issued pet passports.
Ms Coombes took sought advice from a nearby veterinary practice, where vets estimated that the puppies were likely be under 12 weeks old, rather than the 17 weeks indicated by their pet passports. As they were probably too young for vaccination, and therefore could not have been lawfully brought to the UK, the puppies were placed in quarantine.
At Manchester Magistrates Court on Wednesday (7 March), Molnar pleaded guilty to offences under the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974 and Sections 10, 73 and 75 of the Animal Health Act 1981, and to an offence under the Pet Animals Act 1951 for using his premises in Prestwich as a pet shop without a licence.
Molnar, who now lives in Dartford, Kent was given a 270-hour Community Order and disqualified from operating a pet shop or a boarding establishment for ten years. He must also pay compensation of £2,686.93 to Mrs McFarlane to cover her purchase and quarantine costs, and to pay a contribution to prosecution costs of £2,500.
Molnar was registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which will now be contacted over his fitness to continue as a practising vet.
Angela Lomax, head of trading standards and licensing at Bury Council, said: “Young puppies should never be transported long distances into the UK, yet underage and unvaccinated puppies continue to be illegally sent here from abroad – often in appalling conditions – and are destined to be sold via online adverts to unsuspecting members of the public.”
She advised prospective dog owners to buy only from licensed breeders or licensed pet shops, and to see the dog’s mother interacting with the puppy in the environment it is born into.