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Last Updated: Saturday December 06 2008 16:15 GMT

Campaign to ban illegal dog trade

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Dogs at a kennel in Italy

Animal campaigners are trying to put a stop to people making money by illegally selling dogs.

The dogs are captured in Eastern Europe and are then taken to richer countries, where the traders can get lots more cash for selling them.

But the dogs aren't very well looked after being caught, and some are taken from their mum too early.

The campaigners want laws brought in to make it much harder to move animals around Europe.

Some of the animals even have fake pet passports to make it easier to move them around.

Experts think the trade in illegal animals could be worth as much as 260m (300 million Euros) a year.

An Italian politician said it's really important to make more people aware of the illegal trade, saying: "especially in a period like this, when people think that these cute little things can be given as a Christmas present".