A KEIGHLEY vet is again warning people of the risks of buying a dog online, after a Denholme couple purchased a British Bulldog that had actually come from Hungary.

Laura Smales, 24, and Nathan Woodhead, 25, had no idea their new dog – Winston – was imported from abroad. They were faced with the choice of either paying expensive quarantine kennel fees or having their new pet put down.

Luckily, however, the veterinary team at Vets4Pets, in Hard Ings Road, managed to trace Winston's rabies vaccination records in Hungary - meaning he could return to his new home.

Miss Smales, who works as a teaching assistant, said she and her boyfriend had bought two-year-old Winston in Wales after spotting him advertised on the internet a month ago.

After bringing him home they took him to Vets4Pets to be castrated and to have a microchip fitted, only for the staff there to discover he already had a Hungarian microchip in him.

The couple had not been told Winston was from abroad when they bought him, nor had they been given a pet passport.

This meant the Keighley vet initially did not know whether or not Winston was vaccinated against rabies or whether he had been brought into the UK legally.

Miss Smales said: "We were just in utter shock. We couldn't believe it. We'd thought that maybe he might have a few health problems, but we'd never imagined that he could come from Hungary.

"We'd been feeling excited to have bought a dog, but all that was spoilt."

Vet Lara Clarkson said: "Rabies is a disease that kills people – as well as dogs. We don't currently have rabies in the UK but it is found abroad, so it is really important that any dog coming in to this country has been vaccinated to make sure they don't bring the disease with them.

"Luckily for Winston and his family, it turned out that he had been vaccinated - but the paperwork proving this had not been passed on with the dog by the previous owners."

"People must always ask lots of questions when they purchase a new dog.

"They have to make sure they know where the dog was born, and should ask for vaccination records. They must also ask if the dog is microchipped and ask for the microchip paperwork so that they can transfer the ownership details into their name."

In February, the same veterinary practice dealt with a puppy originally from Lithuania, which had not been properly vaccinated against rabies.

It had been bought by a Keighley family, but because its paperwork turned out to be false it had to be put down.