The Kennel Club and anti-puppy farming campaign Pup Aid have warned potential puppy buyers to beware of rogue traders, as ITV’s Tonight programme (aired 31st July) went undercover to expose the activities of unscrupulous dog breeders, ahead of a parliamentary debate about the biggest pet welfare petition of all time.
Puppy farmers breed dogs purely for profit, with no regard for their health and welfare and the Kennel Club and Pup Aid are warning that the problem is getting worse, as puppy farmers hide behind the anonymity that the internet provides, even importing sickly pups from puppy farms abroad, which is easier than ever due to the relaxation of pet travel rules last year.
The relaxation of animal import laws under the Pet Passport European Travel Scheme means that commercial breeders abroad are illegally exporting dogs to the UK with fake passports and paperwork.
These pups are frequently sold onto those trading from the internet or from pet shops and the puppy buyer will never see the terrible conditions that they were raised in or the pup’s mum, as they are usually torn apart at an early age despite the fact that they should be kept together until the pup is at least 8 weeks old.
Kennel Club research for its Puppy Awareness Week campaign 2013, which takes place again on 1-7 September 2014, estimates that as many as one in three people could potentially have bought from a puppy farm, after sourcing their pup online, in a pet store, or via a free ad in a newspaper – all outlets that are commonly used by puppy farmers.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with initially sourcing a breeder’s details online one in five who bought puppies online or on social media ended up with pups that were sick throughout their lives or died before they were six months old, as too many people do not know what they should expect and demand from a breeder when they meet them.
Pup Aid launched an e-petition to help ban the sale of young puppies and kittens unless their mothers are present, as most puppy farmed pups will be separated from their mothers at young age. Over 110,000 people signed the e-petition and the issue is going to be debated in Parliament on September 4th 2014.
Marc Abraham, celebrity vet and founder of Pup Aid, said: “There are far too many puppy sellers just out to make a quick buck and a classic sign of such an irresponsible sales outlet is that they will never show you the mum, who will either be miles away, and in a bad way from over breeding or her pups sold on to a dealer, so that you won’t see their terrible breeding environment.”
“However you initially source your pup you should always, without fail, ask to see the pup interacting with its mother. If mum isn’t there, you should walk away and inform your local council.
“Our petition is the largest pet welfare petition of all time and ahead of the debate in parliament, where we hope to see the principle of seeing pup and mum together enshrined in law, we urge people to write to their MPs asking to show their support.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Dog lovers across the country are suffering the heartbreak of their dog getting sick or needlessly dying and all because some breeders are giving their pups the worse imaginable start in life.
“This problem has got worse since the relaxation of pet travel laws and puppy farmers are fraudulently smuggling pets in from the continent and selling them commercially to unsuspecting puppy buyers.
“We urge puppy buyers to know their rights and to understand the dos and don’ts of puppy buying that we list on our Puppy Awareness Week website.
“The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme is the only scheme in the country that sets standards for and inspects dog breeders, so we urge people to always go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder or rescue home if they want to give their pup the best possible chance in life.”