|You have probably heard of puppy farming - the mass breeding of
pups for sale to the pet market - but are you aware of the scale
of the problem?
Can you guess how much money is involved?
Do you know how many people turn a blind eye to the suffering of the dogs involved?
Are you aware of how the industry pervades and corrupts our society and how its influence affects our lawmakers and enforcers when they try to legislate to control it.
A warning on buying a pup (or dog) during
Puppies are seldom given to rescue centres because they are easy to sell so if there is an unwanted litter you would be much more likely to find them on the internet than in a rescue centre.
Why would someone give a puppy to a rescue centre when they can get upwards of £1000 if they sold it!
These current Covid circumstances have pushed the price of puppies up to anywhere around £2500.
This is well above what they were sold for prior to the pandemic.
Puppies are being bred in copious numbers so breeders can make as much money as possible and a lot are being smuggled into the country because of the demand for them.
These are being offered at the sort of prices we have given above but many are from puppy farms and those imported are taken from their mothers too soon so they are of the right age on arrival in the UK when offered for sale.
As a consequence many die shortly after being purchased.
Some of those that survive do not do well.
They are weak and suffer from a range of congenital conditions that make life hard for them and their owners.
Some others quickly develop behavioural issue, aggression being the most common.
Our weekly advice line has demonstrated this - nearly all our calls over the last 8 months have been from people who have bought a dog on the internet and desperately need help.
A lot of dogs are being born to suffer these days simply because people want pups and create a demand that could not be met under normal conditions.
Don't add to the horror that greed and avarice is creating for puppies and dogs.
Be careful and wait. It is a minefield out there and our advice would be to wait until the Covid situation is under control and things return to 'normal'.
It is predicted that a lot of people will be getting rid of their dogs because it will no longer be convenient to keep them.
Prices will drop because the demand will drop and the market flooded by lots of young dogs for sale by people who can't keep them any more.
As a consequence it is likely that many will be referred to rescue centres.
|We are not talking of 'farmers' in the normal sense of the word, although some of the perpetrators are indeed farmers with a sideline to boost their income, most are just rather callous people who are taking advantage of an opportunity to make an easy profit.
When we use the term 'puppy farmers' we are describing an attitude of mind methodically applied to breeding dogs.
To a puppy farmer the dogs they employ in their breeding programs are simply commodities.
A means to an end.
These dogs mean no more to them than a potato means to a potato farmer. Something to be planted and harvested. So what if some of the 'potatoes' wilt and die?
So what if some die slowly due to lack of care and basic needs like fresh water and proper nutrition?
There are plenty that will live - at least long enough to reproduce a few times.
And what about the fruits of the crop - the puppies - it doesn't matter if a few of these die - there will always be enough that survive for at least as long as is needed for them to be sold and produce the profit required.
Once the money is in their pockets the puppy farmers simply do not care about the outcome for the puppies.
|Puppy farming is death and torture for the dogs caught up in the trade and the trade feeds on people desires to possess a pet and ignorance of the way the pups are bred.
Puppy farmers are well organised and they seek to cover their activities under a veneer of respectability.
They work together to protect each other.
They seek to influence in many aspects of life. They lobby, spread misinformation, set up holding facilities used to temporarily keep pups in transit prior to distribution.
It is an underground club, much like any other criminal gang with shared facilities within a group of individual breeders who look out for each other. It is organised crime.
They try and infiltrate people into positions where they can feed back information about the plans and movements of authorities that could impede their plans.
They try to influence people already in such positions. Money helps.
We have come across one illegal breeder who has a boyfriend working for the local council that licenses her one legal establishment - he is a dog warden. She has hidden, illegal breeding facilities that are not licenced.
Another illegal breeder we heard of had a brother who ran the local dog stray pound for the council.
By these means and other ways of influencing from within they can improve their chances of hearing about complaints and spot inspections in enough time to cover up and clean up.
|We are not talking about happy sires and dams
enjoying the life and fresh air of the countryside and bringing
their healthy well bred offspring into a caring environment with
plenty of room for exercise.
We are talking the lifestyle of a battery hen with minimal care and veterinary attention bringing poorly bred pups into often badly maintained premises and sometimes never seeing the outside world or getting any human care and attention.
Fresh air is available - often coming through broken windows and holes in the roof.
|Of course we are generalising here - not all puppy farms are like this - some are much worse.
There has been some progress.
These days, in England and many American states, pet shops are no longer allowed to sell puppies (or kittens).
In England, puppies must now be sold directly to the public by their breeders.
The legislation behind this change is known as 'Lucy's Law'.
The same legislation is proposed in Scotland and Wales but is not law there yet.
It takes time for things to change. Sadly often too much time!
It would change faster if more people lobbied for change.
If more people cared enough to want change and put effort into speeding it up.
In the meantime, remember this -
Never Buy A Puppy From A Dealer, Agent or Online and in Scotland or Wales, never from a pet shop.
Only buy directly from a breeder and do your homework.
Look for the signs - don't take anything as seen.
Keep a close eye on your dog during Covid.
Dog theft is up and on the increase.
Change the law on dog theft - an appeal
During Covid there has been a huge increase in thefts of dogs due to the high price they can fetch on the open market.
Thieves are also kidnapping dogs and holding them to ransom.
The law covering such thefts is weak and the police tend to look on such thefts as 'petty theft' and not place a high priority on them.
There is a petition on the parliamentary petitions website seeking to change the law on dog theft and make it a specific crime.
It closes on May 20th but will remain on site for viewing.
At 10,000 signatures the government made a written response through DEFRA. You can read this on the petition page.
At 100,000 signatures the subject should be scheduled to be debated in parliament.
So far this petition has over 300,000 signatures and is waiting for a debate date.
There is much that can be done after the petition closes on the 20th May.
Look out for the debate date.
When you know the date, contact your local MP and encourage them to participate in the debate and come out in favour of changing the law.
|Sign or view the petition here|
A dog is a personal possession under law and that ignores the fact that it is a sentient being and has been invested with a lot of love by it's owner.
Theft of a dog has a terrible emotional impact on its owner. The law ignores this fact.
Below is a link that offer guidance about how the law relates to dogs and their ownership.
It's a bit sad that in this day and age basic consumer law and consumer rights are the only laws that apply to the purchase and keeping of a dog and owners have no additional protection.
There are many laws about a dog owners responsibilities. It all seems out of balance - please sign the petition above.
|Buying any animal is regarded, under British Law, as exactly the same as purchasing any other consumer product.
Amongst other things, it must be 'fit for purpose' and 'as described'. If not, you have certain legal rights as the buyer.
Know your rights when buying a puppy or any pet and use those right if anything goes wrong.
Until the law is changed to recognise the special relationship between an animal and a human the only way to hit back at people who sell sick animals because they are ignoring basic welfare needs and only breeding for a quick profit is to use consumer protection law against them.
More advice/information on buying a cat or a dog here -
DirectGov - Buying a cat or dog