In January 2017, the plight of countless dogs bred to within an inch of their pitiful lives was reported in the media. It shocked, sickened and angered the UK public. The Mirror’s headline read ‘Inside sick illegal UK puppy farms where cruel breeder left dogs in complete darkness ‘close to death’.
This article belies the ugly truth about Richard Jones and his premises which we internally referred to as ‘The Barn’ for more years than we care to remember. We are here to expose the full, ugly despicable truth about a Welsh puppy farmer who was sanctioned and licensed year upon year by Ceredigion Council.
Hundreds of dogs were failed by Ceredigion Council, the Welsh Government and a Welsh Licensing System that was, and still is, not worth the paper it’s written on. But what saddens us the most is that like Puppy Love Campaigns, we too feel we failed the dogs because despite how hard our two campaigns tried, we couldn’t stop their suffering during all these years. Here’s why …
NOTE: One of Richard Jones’ official council inspection reports was one of the worst and most damning we’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen hundreds, yet the council saw fit to relicense him.
On 27th April, 2013 we first went public with the shocking case of Blaen-Y-Ffiniau, Silian – a puppy farm licensed for up to 70 breeding dogs. For those who still deny that there is even such a thing as a puppy farm, this is the licensed puppy farm run by Richard Jones. A licensed puppy farm already exposed in 2011 by Puppy Love Campaigns.
Here is our original Facebook poster from 2013.
Here is the original post on Facebook that accompanied our poster:
Ceredigion County Council, the authority who within the last two weeks voted 16/1 in favour of a planning application for Nant Y Castell, Pontsian – a puppy farm licensed for up to 70+ breeding dogs – will shortly be considering an application from a puppy farmer who lives approximately 5 miles away from his unattended barn licensed to house 70 dogs. This puppy farmer has been licensed for a considerable amount of time without planning permission, something certain Councils in Wales deem perfectly acceptable.
These recent photos show the face of puppy farming in our country today. Puppy farming is a U.K. wide travesty that is a blot on our landscape. C.A.R.I.A.D. and Puppy Love Campaigns have challenged Ceredigion County Council on a number of occasions about this particular establishment, below are some of their responses.
“I would confirm that the premises concerned has been inspected by an Officer of this Department who was accompanied by an authorised Veterinary Surgeon. At the time of the visit the premises was found to generally comply with Ceredigion’s licensing conditions.”
“I can confirm that the date of visit was the 26th January 2012 and during the inspection the dogs did have warm, clean bed areas and gas heaters are available if needed.”
“To clarify the term “generally “ it is to say that the premises is collectively and on the whole complying with Ceredigion’s Licencing Conditions. The premises is not an overflow from a Licenced Breeder. At present there is no one living on site but the dogs are visited at regular intervals in accordance with the Licencing conditions.”
C.A.R.I.A.D. does not deem sawdust and planks of wood, seen in these concrete compartments, to be ‘warm, clean bed areas’. Neither do we deem it acceptable that Ceredigion County Council have licensed an unattended barn where the owners live approximately 5 miles away.
This application is for a Certificate of Lawfulness which is different to a Planning Application. Can this application be challenged? Highly improbable because the certificate will almost certainly be passed under delegated powers this week. Can you express your disgust and outright objection to this puppy farm? ABSOLUTELY!
We urge you to find time this weekend to make your feelings known to the powers that be. Council members are PUBLIC SERVANTS there to serve the needs of all in the community, including those who oppose puppy farming. Members of Parliament are elected by the public, for the public to represent our interests and concerns. Tell them puppy farming has no place in our country. Tell them to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Ask them why puppy farming is still legal in the UK when if just one of the five freedoms was applied, “the freedom to exhibit normal behaviour”, puppy farming would be ILLEGAL.
Approximately 8 million dogs are kept as pets in the U.K. Every single one of us who share our lives with our canine friends must speak up and give them a voice. If we all spoke out it would be a voice that nobody could fail to hear.
If you think it’s acceptable for 70 breeding dogs to be housed in an unattended barn, in the middle of nowhere, then please do nothing. If however, you think this lack of humanity towards our companion animals does not belong in our country, please make your voice heard now.
On 17th May, 2013 we reported that the application for a Certificate of Lawfulness had been refused.
Below is our original Facebook poster.
Here is our original post on Facebook that accompanied our poster:
Unfortunately, all this meant was that the barn would in principle be subject to planning regulations. It was decided by the Council that no enforcement action would be taken as the premises would be unlikely to breach planning regulations. However, there was a further planning application for the building of a house alongside the barn. The planning officer recommended refusal as this was against national planning guidance.
The planning committee subsequently over-ruled the planning officer’s recommendations and voted to accept the application for building of a 3-bedroomed house. C.A.R.I.A.D. submitted a complaint to the Welsh Government asking them to ‘call in’ the application. Once they had considered our complaint the Welsh Government said yes, the application was in breach of planning guidance, but it was outside their remit to call it in as it wasn’t raising an issue of ‘national importance’. So the situation is – Blaen-Y-Ffiniau, Silian continues to be licensed – though in our view it actually breaches the authority’s own licensing conditions. The barn itself has not been subject to any planning regulation scrutiny and won’t be. A house has been approved for construction adjacent to the barn in which the applicant will live – mainly deriving income from the puppy farm, though this is formally in breach of planning guidance, but was approved by the planning committee.
On 27th April 2014, we we’re appalled to report that Blaen-Y-Ffiniau, Silian was still operating – breeding and selling puppy farmed puppies.
Over the years we have continued to pressure Ceredigion Council, the Welsh Government and frankly anyone else who would listen, including the RSPCA, but Richard Jones remained untouchable. Even when his licence wasn’t renewed in 2015, coincidentally the same year the new Welsh dog breeding regulations were introduced, officials clearly did nothing about the countless breeding dogs they knew were in Richard Jones’ possession.
NOTE: These poor dogs still remain in Richard Jones’ abusive hands. Please sign this petition as a matter of urgency to help free these souls. This family has a shocking history when it comes to their treatment of animals.
Whilst we’re grateful and relieved that Richard Jones has finally been exposed to legal proceedings and publicly shamed, it in no way makes up for the years of immeasurable suffering these poor dogs were subjected to under his ‘care’. It takes away none of their pain or fear. And whatever lenient sentence he is given, it will not fit his crime. And it will certainly not bring him to justice for the countless dogs whose lives cannot be accounted for once they ceased to be ‘productive’. It is, quite simply, too little too late. These dogs were left to rot by a system that is licensed to kill and by people who were employed to protect animals from this sort of neglect and abuse, and failed. A perfect storm.
It is no coincidence that Ceredigion Council only intervened when they discovered Richard Jones was operating without a licence. They turned a blind eye to the welfare failings of this disgraceful commercial breeding establishment for all the years he was operating ‘legally’ with a licence. A licence that granted him impunity. Yet more proof that licensing does not protect dogs, it just legitimises this sort of cruelty. Some claim that he went underground when his licence wasn’t renewed – he did not. He remained in plain sight in exactly the same premises he’d been in for years, just like the Carmarthenshire breeder in our One Visit documentary.
One final point: Richard Jones sold his puppies to pet shops and dealers (third party sellers). Richard Jones, and puppy farmers like him are the reason we will never stop lobbying for a BAN on the sale of puppies away from their mothers. Without this holistic strategy in place, no amount of licensing on its own will ever stop puppy farming. Because puppy farming, by its very nature, operates behind closed doors where people can quite literally get away with canine murder.