Puppy owners and dog loving celebrities turned out in force to support ThePet.net and the Kennel Club puppy parties on Saturday 19th September, which were held to support Puppy Farm Awareness Day 2009.
The Brighton event, which was organised by my own social petworking site, ThePet.net, and supported by the Kennel Club saw hundreds of dog and puppies turn up to the event, which raised money for and boosted the profile of local charities Sussex Pet Rescue, Hope Rescue and Pro Dogs Direct.
The day included the a fun ‘Puppy Party’ and dog show with judges including The Bill’s Chris Ellison (DCI Frank Burnside), and ex World Champion Boxer Michael Watson MBE who judged Best Boxer Dog.
Local politicians also showed their support and discussed legislative changes that could be made to protect the health and welfare of puppies in the future.
At the same time puppies and their owners at Darlington Dog Show, held at Ripon, joined together to raise awareness about the day.
Kennel Club Accredited Breeders, who follow responsible breeding practice, were amongst those who supported the event, in a bid to show people how they can buy from such a breeder, and not unwittingly fall into the hands of puppy farmers.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Communications Director, said: “We are very pleased that so many dog lovers and responsible breeders turned up to support the events in Brighton and Darlington, which has helped to raise awareness about this important issue.
“Puppy farmers’ breeding methods are morally and ethically opposed to those used by responsible breeders, who care about their dogs’ health and welfare first and foremost. It is essential that people understand the importance of buying from a responsible and reputable breeder, such as a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder, rather than one from a puppy farm – which only fuels this cruel trade and can lead to heartache if the pup falls sick further down the line.”
Puppy farming is a large and ever growing trade in the UK. The puppy farms mass-produce puppies, keeping them in poor conditions in order to increase profits.
The pups are usually removed from their mothers too early, transported across the country to dealers, who then sell them from the internet, pet shops, free newspapers or even motorway service stations.
As a result the puppies are often not socialised and commonly suffer from fatal health problems including pneumonia and parvovirus, as well as dangerous infestations of fleas and worms, often requiring hundreds of pounds of veterinary or behavioural treatment to fix.
Breeding bitches are usually kept in cages or small pens, rarely see daylight or touch grass, and are mated at every heat – just being fed enough to keep them producing pups, with little or no veterinary care at all.
As Kennel Club Veterinary Advisor and TV vet, I would love to see the day when I no longer have to treat breeding bitches rescued from, or poorly puppies bought from, puppy farms, but sadly at the moment I am treating more and more dogs from puppy farms than ever before.
Puppy Farming Awareness Day 2009 was a crucial step in the right direction, showing everybody how they can do their bit to help put an end to this trade. This has to start with the boycott of puppy farms and with people instead buying from Kennel Club Accredited Breeders, who treat their dogs and puppies with the love and care that they deserve.
People can sign the Kennel Club’s petition, which asks the government to enforce a mandatory set of standards for all breeders, based on those already followed by Kennel Club Accredited Breeders and that put the puppies’ health and welfare first and foremost.
To sign the Kennel Club’s petition, to find a responsible breeder, or to find out how to spot the signs of a puppy farmer visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/stoppuppyfarming. To find out more about the Brighton puppy party visit www.ThePet.net
Some pictures from the Brighton Event (courtesy of Tabatha Fireman):