Puppies, Lies and Farming – expose the buyers please
After 20 years of campaigns and petitions, puppy farming – a practice where dogs are bred in dirty, overcrowded conditions often producing sick and aggressive puppies – is still a growing trade says Debbie Connolly of SafePets UK.
Despite the new Animal Welfare Act, these dog breeding farms continue to appear from nowhere every day. Puppy farms often need planning permission for sheds and warehouses to be used for breeding – Carmarthenshire County Council is currently considering a planning application from a local puppy farmer to use an agricultural shed as a dog breeding kennels for 196 dogs. The application is retrospective which means that thousands of puppies have already been bred and sold from the premises.
Debbie Connolly feels that it is time new action is taken and said: “Councils often bear the brunt of blame as they are the ones licensing premises and breeders but no matter how many film exposes are done, however many complaints are made and however many times these breeders breach permissions and break welfare laws, these same councils continue to issue licenses and permissions – we need a new approach.”
Puppy farmers are thought to produce tens of thousands of puppies yearly, mostly sold in “puppy supermarket” type outlets, often selling more than a dozen breeds of dog at any one time. Some pet shops and some home scams also sell on these pups and the problems have been covered in many TV exposes and documentaries. There are dozens of these outlets throughout the UK, getting van deliveries of puppies on a weekly basis – sometimes more.
“Vets, behaviourists and trainers will all tell you that puppies bred in unsuitable conditions with no health testing of their parents and with no human socialisation from an early age often grow to be dangerous, afraid and develop preventable hereditary illnesses. Those pups lucky enough to be mentally healthy often don’t make adulthood due to their health issues. The Trading Standards Authority can potentially take action against sellers but I’d like to see a case where the councils granting licences to puppy farm breeders reported for breaking welfare, trading or licensing conditions are charged alongside the puppy farmer as an accessory for helping the puppy farmer to break the law!” Stated Debbie.
Debbie believes that a pet that live in our homes, sleep in our beds and cuddle with our children should not be bred in livestock conditions and that no animal should suffer cruelty but she also believes that campaigns have helped, but not stopped puppy farming, so buyers should be held accountable too. She went onto say: “The fact remains that people who are still buying puppies from puppy farmers should be ashamed – using the “we rescued it” excuse is insulting. Many potential pet owners are not conned into buying a puppy in this way – they do it deliberately to avoid the questions that good breeders and rescue centres ask before they let a dog go to a new home. Some members of the public are selfish and don’t care about the fact that they are funding more animal misery. If it was possible to name and shame people who buy from puppy farms, then I would happily do it – they are after all endorsing animal cruelty.”
Advice on how to safely buy a puppy is available on Debbie Connolly’s new site www.ethicalbreeding.com which is supported by several vets and celebrities.