Most people have heard something about puppy farming.  They hear the campaigns, they see the secret filming, they look at the picture, yet farms are more prevalent today than ever because people still buy the puppies.  The lives of the breeding dogs are miserable.  Dumped when no longer commercially viable, a few make it to real homes, most don’t.  Think about the fact that there are thousands of puppy farm dogs breeding, yet only a handful out in homes.

This is the story of just one bitch, lucky enough to make it out, many of her companions didn’t.  Our thanks to Mrs M for this story:

I got Polly from a rescue that said she had been saved from breeding in a puppy farm.  They said they got lots of these dogs and tried hard to rescue them.  I was stunned to hear a story  from them that once, the rescue had problems with transport and were late arriving, only to find the dogs had been killed, with a shovel, hit over the head! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. For this dreadful treatment to be carried out on our animals in this day and age and for a rescue to know exactly where the farms are and do nothing to report them is unbelievable.   I still cannot believe this can be happening, and my heart goes out to all the poor dogs being subjected to this kind of treatment.  It was based on these facts that I set up my Facebook Group and decided it was time for ‘puppy farming’ to be stopped!

I would like to tell you my story. I adopted an ex breeding dog called Polly. She is 6 years old and bred from 1 year old every six months up to last year, the poor love! She was in a dreadful state, so underweight you could see her spine, heavily infested with lice, all her paw pads had deep crevices from constantly standing in her own waste. She lived on a puppy farm in a disused barn, apparently 30 dogs in one pig sty!!! The food thrown in once a day and if they didn’t scramble to get it quick enough they starved. She was thankfully rescued as she was no longer of any use to them??? She then had to be spayed and her problems began, I was due to collect her the following day, only to be told she was fighting for her life and they were not sure if she would make it. She had haemorrhaged badly after the op and had to be put under again, to try and stop the bleeding. They had also found numerous lumps on her teats which had been removed & sent off for analysis. I was informed she had a grade 3/4 heart murmur and cataracts in both eyes’ one of which she is completely blind in. At this point I was given the option to walk away!!!!! I I felt very angry that any Human could do this to such a voiceless little soul. I also questioned would it be kinder to let her go??

But then I began to look at what the Rescue people, the Vet and many others had done to get her this far, and the fact Polly was still fighting, so my decision was made, a loving home was waiting for her here when she was ready. She came to our home, which is now her ‘safe haven’ on 12th February 2011. She was so poorly she didn’t move for nearly 2 weeks, and just stayed in her bed and slept. I have 4 other Cavalier KC who used to lie around the outside of her bed as if they knew she was ill, and was protecting her. We then had the results and another blow for Polly, as she has low grade mammary gland cancer!

Because she was so ill neither of the cataracts could be removed, so I am now trying to get the money together so she can at least have some sight, although she copes very well, and my other doggies sense her problem and look after her. Bless! BUT we are 3 1/2 months on now and I can honestly say I am oh! so glad I decided to give her a special home, she has come on a treat, is looking a lot healthier and the most important she feels SAFE and shows she’s happy! With the wiggliest tail I have seen. Obviously she still has many issues because of the ill treatment she suffered for 6 years of her life, but even if she only has a short time in our home, I will rest knowing we gave her the very best she deserved. I am so concerned about the conditions these poor dogs are living in and the fact councils are issuing yearly licences to allow this sort of treatment to continue. I am presently in the process of sending a letter to the Welsh Assembly Government as I am aware they are trying to bring in new laws to prevent this from happening. But what also concerns me is a Rescue Centre allowing these dogs to be re-homed with no time spent on behavioural issues, which you can imagine after being cooped up for so long with no bedding, heat or light is a major problem for the poor souls.

Polly came in to the rescue centre 3rd February 2011 and was advertised  more or less immediately, I saw her photo on 5th Feb’11 and filled in the adoption form. Monday 7th Feb’11, I had a telephone interview  and was accepted for the adoption of Polly . Tuesdays 8th Feb’11 my home check was completed, and I was informed I could collect Polly on Friday 11th Feb’11. Polly was booked to be spayed at the rescue centre on Thursday 10th Feb’11 but due to her haemorrhaging and having to be re-anesthetised later the same day I received a phone call to say I could not collect her on Friday as she was very poorly, so much so they were not sure if she would pull through. I was heart broken and in tears on the phone just thinking about how sad her life had been. Yes I was given the option to walk away, but how on earth could I do that after the uphill struggle she was going through, so I said No, she still had a home with us if she pulled through. I received a call on Friday 11th Feb’11 saying she was still very weak but had gotten through the night and if I wished I could collect Polly on Saturday 12th Feb’11. I was both elated and unsure at this point as to why she was coming so soon after such major surgery!

I was also asked to take all my other Dogs to the rescue to be introduced to Polly. As you can imagine, we arrived on Saturday 12th Feb’11 around 2pm to meet a very poorly and very sad little girl, who had just gone through 2 major operations, and the last thing she was interested in was meeting 4 very excitable cavaliers. She had no strength and had to be carried to our car by one of the rescue workers. I did question why she was being sent to our home so soon after the operation and was told the vet felt it was better if she was away from the rescue environment due to infections etc… She then had to endure a 3 hour car journey to our home in North Wales. We settled her in as best we could and I can honestly say Polly did not move for at least 2 weeks , I was literally feeding her by hand in her bed, so was so weak and poorly.

We immediately took Polly to our vets 14th Feb’11 to make sure she was ok; unfortunately we visited the vets practically every day the first week as stitches where the lump was removed became badly infected. It was a really nasty infection and the smell was dreadful. At this point the vet actually commented on the poor stitching of the wound. The skin around the stitches was so infected it ended up bringing the stitches away, leaving the wound open. Tuesday 15th Feb’11 I was up until 4am bathing her every 2 hours with salt water (recommended by my vet) because I was so worried about her; but the hard work paid dividends and the wound looked a lot healthier by Wednesday 16th Feb’11. She was then put on a course of antibiotics, and was asked to keep the open wound clean until it had time to heal, as due to her circumstances the vet was reluctant to anaesthetise her again to re-stitch. On top of all this I also noticed Polly was constantly scratching at her skin and when we investigated it was obvious she was still struggling with a pretty bad infestation of Lice.

Arhhhhh I was so angry with the rescue centre as it had put my other 4 doggies at risk. I rang the rescue and was told she had been front lined twice, once upon her arrival on the 3rd and again on the 12th when she left, and they were sorry if she still had them. To this very day I am still trying to combat the mites and yes they have passed between my other 4 Cavaliers. As you can imagine it has taken Polly a long time to overcome all her health issues as well as settling into her new home. She still has many behavioural issues and is extremely reluctant to leave her ‘safe haven’ the family kitchen being the first room she was introduced into. So her gentle walks down the lane are far and few between, although I do wonder if the fact she is blind in one eye, and the start of a cataract in the other is more the reason why she will not leave the home. She certainly gets very stressed if I try to encourage a walk, so I reluctantly leave her at home whilst I walk the others, for fear it may affect her heart problem.

She tends to sleep throughout most of the day, never plays with any of my other dogs and is getting very little exercise, which does concern me. I am very happy to know I have given Polly the chance to try and live as normal a life as possible and I would do it over again if I had to. Thankfully having 9 years experience with Cavaliers and the raising of puppies has helped somewhat, but my concern is I have no experience or understanding of the huge behavioural issues these ‘puppy farm’ dogs have and therefore how many more adoptees have taken on this responsibility without really understanding the major issues concerned. I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my story.

If you want to stop puppy farming, contact us for advice or join one of the existing campaigns or awareness groups

Help us to collect the evidence we need to shame these puppy farmers, click here

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About Safepets UK

Expert Witness behaviourist assessing dogs for court, treating cats and dogs. Covering Midlands to London and other areas.

4 responses »

  1. Cherry pie says:

    I have read your story and am so appalled at how these puppy farms continue to run legally!! I have been to a rescue centre the last few days who rescue puppies and dogs from Irish puppy farms and have fell in love with a beautiful little shih ztu boy who is approx 10 mths old heart is ruling my head as I know it won’t be an easy path but feel I can offer him a loving home

    • Val says:

      I have just (today) rehomed a beautiful little Springer Spaniel, rescued from a puppy farm in Ireland. I was told, by the lovely foster carer, that she is very nervous but, after a 4hour drive home, with our other five Jack Russel
      s in the car, she is now settled at my feet, has explored the house & garden & seems relaxed. In fact, as I write, she is licking her ‘bits’ & having a sniff around. She might have fleas though, as she is scratching like mad! Obviously her mammery glands are very swollen, so I will ask my vet if anything can be done, as I’m concerned they might get caught on brambles & stuff when she’s out running around, but this poor baby has been through so much, I’m reluctant to put her through more.So far, however, so positive.

      • safepets uk says:

        Well done for offering a home to this poor dog. If she is producing milk, the vet can give her something to reduce it as she will end up with mastitis if something isn’t done. Of course once she is spayed it won’t happen again. I wish her a happy life.

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