Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

On 30th January, 2017 a long-standing C.A.R.I.A.D. supporter wrote to the Head of Animal Welfare Policy at the Welsh Government expressing their overwhelming disappointment in the failure of the Welsh dog breeding regulations to effect any meaningful change in the welfare of dogs kept in licensed breeding premises in Wales.

This letter followed on from a C.A.R.I.A.D. article entitled ‘Dogs are suffering in Welsh ‘puppy farms’ despite new regulations, say campaigners.’ published on Wales Online in December 2016.

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Below is the letter submitted by our long-standing supporter to the Welsh Government. This letter is being published as part of our PuppiLeaks campaign.

To: Head of Animal Welfare Policy, Welsh Government

Dear Head of Animal Welfare Policy

I am writing to you in your capacity as Head of Animal Welfare Policy, and as the senior official who was directly involved in the final stages of the development of the Breeding of Dogs (Wales) Regulations, 2014.

1) I am writing in particular to express my overwhelming disappointment in the failure of these Regulations to effect any meaningful change in the welfare of dogs kept in licensed breeding premises in Wales. It has become evident, through evidence of authority licensing reports obtained through FOI, and other evidence that the key provisions of the Regulations are simply not being applied.

2) License reports for both Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, for example, for both 2015 and 2016, again and again refer to the premises examined having significantly lower than the required minimum number of staff in relation to the numbers of breeding dogs licensed for. Yet in every case the premises has continued to be licensed.

3) Two key elements of the legislation which would have been critical to effect significant improvement in welfare, were the requirement that each premises submit for approval a ‘socialisation’ programme (for the puppies bred), and an ‘enhancement and enrichment’ programme to ensure adequate exercise, stimulation and interaction. Yet in hardly any of the licence reports is there any reference to the socialisation or enrichment activities of the premises, and pretty much none at all to the required socialisation and enrichment programmes. Again, despite this, the premises are being licensed.

4) What is undoubtedly continuing to happen is that many premises, likely most, in the primary breeding authorities Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, are keeping dogs as before in barren accommodation without adequate, exercise, stimulation or interaction, and with entirely inadequate staffing levels to enable proper care. They will, one can anticipate, continue to be failing to be provided with adequate veterinary care and other basic facilities in many cases.

5) How has this come about? The Welsh Government needs to accept a very substantial amount of blame. The Regulations took about five years to come into place after the Task and Finish Group report was initially produced. Throughout this period there were multiple consultations with extraordinary delays between each and no sense of urgency whatsoever from the Government. Such delays when queried were often met with a weak response that, ‘it’s with our lawyers’. These lawyers appear to have been remarkably tardy not to mention incompetent as the drafting was at each iteration still flawed.

6) An absolutely key element of the Regulations should have been effective Guidance to local authorities to spell out how the Regulation provisions should be interpreted and applied. The first draft of this was weak, and then sat on a shelf for two years without further consideration. Shortly before the Regulations came into effect a final Guidance document was produced but astonishingly this was significantly diluted even compared to the first. With almost complete lack of concern and lack of understanding of the licensing inspection process, the Government presumed to retain a very poor and lightweight document.

7) This process is particularly galling as earlier Pembrokeshire County Council had put in a great deal of work to provide new model licence conditions under the extant Breeding of Dogs Regulations, 1973. These were comprehensive and of a high standard with thorough guidance to local authorities built in. The conditions rightfully included the expectation that each authority would ensure that the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act6, 2006 were met before a premises was licensed. Pembrokeshire County Council took the initiative to persuade other authorities in Wales to adopt these, working with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA). But the Welsh Government effectively chose arrogantly to ignore this work and to pursue its own regulations without the competence to do so effectively. We now have the worst of all worlds – poor regulations and inadequate Guidance.

8) While the Welsh Government is blameworthy in this, key culprits also include particular local authorities. Most significantly Carmarthenshire, which is the largest and has 81 licensed breeders, and Ceredigion. The standards applied have been minimal at best, but have often clearly failed to meet the requirements of licensing regulations. Both authorities have stated that they do not apply the Animal Welfare Act when licensing, since ‘this is not a statutory responsibility’. These authorities are continuing to ignore the new Regulations ignoring requirements for minimum staffing, ignoring requirements for puppy socialisation and environmental enrichment. And ignoring the Animal Welfare Act.

9) I understand that when issues have been raised about failures of application and enforcement by local authorities, the Government’s first response has been to avoid the issue stating that it has no authority. The second step has been to provide a link to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. How helpful. Yet this betrays yet another ignorance – the Ombudsman will not act on general complaints about failures of authorities to meet statutory duties, it will only act on behalf of individual citizens who can provide evidence that they have suffered personal detriment as a result of an authority’s action or inaction. An animal can’t complain about personal detriment nor can someone on their behalf. So no remedy through this route is possible. How come the Welsh Government doesn’t know this? The only available remedy is judicial review – and that requires a likely minimum of £50,000 for legal fees.

10) A further critical issue for Regulations such as these to be properly implemented is adequate training for licensing officials. I understand that there was a 1-day workshop for local authority staff run by the Welsh Government shortly after the Regulations came in, but this is hardly likely to have been adequate. In anticipation of the need for licensing officers to gain an understanding of puppy socialisation and ‘enhancement and enrichment’, C.A.R.I.A.D. produced two Guides. These were published in different formats and made available freely on-line by C.A.R.I.A.D. Copies were supplied to the Welsh Government, though my suspicion is that it could barely be bothered to promote or encourage their use, despite the fact that they are of high quality and based on systematic and up-to-date review of relevant scientific evidence.

11) When the Regulations were passed in 2015 it was stated that there would be a review, particularly relating to the issue of the staff to dog ration. My recollection is that this review was meant to happen within a year. But I don’t think anything has happened yet. A big question is what happens now? What seems likely is that the implementation of the Regulations, such as they are, will continue to be poor or non-existent through continued preparedness of local authorities to licence premises irrespective of whether they meet legally required standards or not. The main consequence of this, of course, will be the continued suffering and poor welfare of thousands of breeding dogs kept in cow-sheds and the like, to make as much money as possible for licensed puppy farmers.

12) But of course the consequences don’t stop there. Failure to properly socialise puppies leads to behavioural problems. These can mean dogs are more readily abandoned or given up. Failure to socialise is associated with increased risk of aggression and dog-biting so this bears on potential risks and costs to health authorities. Numbers of dog bites seen at out-patient clinics across the U.K. are surprisingly high – about 250,000 per annum, and that is without considering those that only go to the local G.P. Inadequate conditions lead to infections and ill-health and owners are often faced with the distress of dealing with a suffering dog, as well as increased veterinary costs. There are so many instances of people having bought puppies via intermediaries from licensed puppy farms, including in Wales, that develop such problems. Seeking redress is not easy.

13) These issues need to be looked at now by the Welsh Government with urgency and without the complacency that has been characteristic of its approach so far. The persistent inability of the Government to understand how licensing works and what the demands on licensing officials are is a key issue and needs to be addressed also.

Yours faithfully,

On 6th February, 2017 our long-standing supporter received the following hugely dismissive response from the Animal Welfare Branch, Welsh Government.

Thank you for your email and letter about the Dog Breeding Regulations.

Welsh Government officials are working with Local Authorities to assess the enforcement of the Regulations and the impact they have had on the welfare of dogs in licensed premises. The first stage of this is a data capture exercise, working direct with the Trading Standards Officers in Wales via the Partnership Delivery Programme, and this is currently underway.

Many of your complaints have previously been raised and discussed with either myself or other members of my team but please be assured that the welfare of dogs and their offspring are a priority for us and we will continue to work with Local Authorities and Third Sector organisations with this aim in mind.

Yours sincerely,

Animal Welfare Branch/Cangen Lles Anifeiliaid
Department for Natural Resources/Yr Adran Cyfoeth Naturiol
Welsh Government/Llywodraeth Cymru
Cathays Park/Parc Cathays
Cardiff/Caerdydd
CF10 3NQ

What C.A.R.I.A.D. finds deeply worrying is that the recent announcement from Defra stating their plans to improve the breeding and sale of dogs in England, bear a striking resemblance to the Welsh regulations implemented in April 2015 – regulations that have failed to effect any meaningful change in the welfare of dogs kept in licensed breeding premises in Wales.

On 21st December 2016, the BBC aired episode 8 of consumer programme Watchdog. A report contained in the programme centred on the activities of LICENSED dog breeder and pet shop, Kevin Knox owner of Ivy Leaf Kennels.

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Following DEFRA’s announcement of a new licensing regime, which will supposedly improve the lives of the nation’s breeding dogs and their puppies, we thought now would be an opportune time to give you an insight into what it means to be a LICENSED dog breeder and pet shop in the UK, and how the system is often set up to fail the dogs.

Below is a blog from Julia Carr, dog welfare campaigner, lobbyist and founder of Canine Action UK.

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‘Kevin Knox isn’t entirely to blame for selling sick puppies.’

BBC Consumer Affairs programme, Watchdog, highlighted that despite the focus on illegal puppy sellers, problems are just as likely when the seller is licenced and legal.

Ivy Leaf Kennels owned by Kevin Knox has been the subject of negative media attention for many years and was exposed by BBC Inside Out in 2010 for selling sick puppies. Despite this, he continues to be licensed both as a breeder and as a pet shop, which allows him to buy in puppies from elsewhere and sell them on.

Watchdog repeatedly stated that since Inside Out was aired, they have learned of 52 cases of puppies becoming seriously ill and 11 puppies that died soon after purchase. One case was reported in June 2014. Quite rightly the programme pointed out that Kevin Knox’s response “Our client accepts that sometimes puppies die” is completely unacceptable.

The programme sent an undercover team to act as purchasers and they filmed the sale as Mr Knox handed over a puppy with as much feeling as if he was selling a toaster. Apart from conjunctivitis, the puppy was in reasonable physical condition although it was not comfortable around humans and required remedial behavioural support to ensure that this wouldn’t develop into a problem. The programme also observed that the kennels appeared ‘clean and professional’ although very sterile with no form of environmental enrichment.

The programme attempted to discover why so many puppies had become sick or had died and focussed on potential issues with the environment, including an unsanitary outside yard and lack of handwashing facilities. Suggestions for improvements were made to Mr Knox in a letter, but what the programme didn’t highlight was that these issues should have been picked up in the inspection process.

With such obvious risks for disease transmission, why have the premises been relicensed? The programme stated at the beginning of the piece that “if they’re licensed, you should feel secure in the knowledge that your puppy has been well reared and is healthy and happy.” Clearly Ivy Leaf kennels are not operating as they should and it is fantastic that this has been exposed in such a high profile way. However, it is just as important that searching questions are asked about the licensing process that has not been able to prevent these very serious problems.

The truth is, while Kevin Knox is a convenient person to blame for the sick and dying puppies he has sold, the buck doesn’t stop with him. There are supposed to be processes in place to protect not just the welfare of dogs and puppies but to protect consumers.

Ivy Leaf Kennels are licensed as a dog breeding establishment and as a pet shop – that should mean inspections are carried out to ensure that the premises meet the required criteria for both activities. Kevin Knox’s legal representative issued a reply to Watchdog which was shown on screen. It claims “Each year his premises are inspected by the local authority and each year his premises are deemed to be of sufficient standard to have an animal breeders licence and a pet shop licence issued to him by them.” However this is not entirely true.

Durham’s response to our own Freedom of Information request (dated January 2016) states “the Council does not hold the requested information (inspection reports) for 2013 and 2015. This is because the premises were not due for inspection in 2013 and inspections had not been carried out for 2015 at the time your request was made.” The only inspection received for Ivy Leaf Kennels was dated 2nd December 2014, so it appears that if no inspection was made during 2013 then about two years had elapsed since it was last inspected.

However, it is likely that even if Durham Council had been more diligent with their inspection protocol, puppies would still be dying or developing serious illnesses after being sold because Kevin Knox operates within a system that allows him to buy in puppies from other breeders based many hundreds of miles away, transport them to his own establishment and sell them on. These puppies are likely to be sourced from multiple different breeders who breed dogs as a cash crop, with no consideration for their physical or mental welfare. These breeding establishments are probably never seen by the public as their sole market is likely to be third party traders such as Kevin Knox and the other eighty licensed pet shops that are permitted to sell puppies.

The whole system facilitates the trading of dogs as a commodity and allows them to be bred, reared and sold with no regard for their wellbeing or suitability to become well-adjusted family pets.

The bald reality is that it doesn’t really matter how clean Ivy Leaf kennels are, or whether customers are able to wash their hands. If the council was prepared to inspect the establishment every month, puppies would still be dying. No matter what measures are imposed at the point of sale, those puppies would still be bred by irresponsible breeders because no responsible breeder would allow a third party to sell their puppies. They would still have to endure a lengthy journey in unmonitored conditions, crammed in with other stressed and poorly bred puppies from multiple sources. They would still be kept in a situation where the only objective is to sell them as quickly as possible to make room for more puppies.

Kevin Knox is just a representative of the entire problem, one that cannot be improved while it remains legal to sell puppies through commercial third party outlets.

Eleven puppies are known to have died during the last six years; this is probably just the tip of the iceberg and even the puppies which have apparently been in good health after sale are likely to have behavioural problems or go on to develop chronic conditions as they age due to bad breeding practices. Puppies that die before they are sold are not ever accounted for. We MUST not accept that “puppies die”. We must not allow them to die.

There is only one way of making a difference and that is to completely ban the commercial sale of puppies through third parties. Don’t blame Kevin Knox for doing what he is legally permitted to. Make sure that he is NOT legally permitted to do it any longer by supporting a ban on the third party sale of puppies.

Since the Watchdog programme was aired, the RSPCA have launched an investigation. Our question is ‘Why wasn’t this investigation launched sooner?

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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’.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/inside-sick-illegal-uk-puppy-9691272

richard-jones

photo: cascadenews.co.uk

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.

The Barn

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.

THANK YOU!

On 17th May, 2013 we reported that the application for a Certificate of Lawfulness had been refused.

Below is our original Facebook poster.

The Barn Refused

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.

The Barn 2014

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.

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photo: cascadenews.co.uk

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ONE of the things we are pushing for within a holistic strategy to combatting puppy farming, is a ban on the sale of puppies by third parties for one simple reason – most puppy farmers never have to open their doors to the public or any kind of prying eye apart from council licensing inspectors. These inspections happen once a year and do not give a true picture of what happens on a daily basis in these establishments on the other 364 days of the year. Nor are licensing staff animal welfare experts. Added to this is that in Wales puppy farmers can dictate which vet signs off their dogs as fit to breed from when they relicense. It is the perfect storm when it comes to the lack of transparency and impartiality which continues to allow canine suffering. These are the same establishments that sell their poorly bred and often sick puppies to licensed pet shops and puppy dealers.

Daily Mirror Article: Puppy Farms Operating Behind Firmly Closed Doors

What this means is that thousands of puppy farm dogs are suffering behind closed doors and their often sick and underage puppies are being sold on to YOU, via a network of third party sellers (pet shops and puppy dealers). This is HUGE business not just here on the mainland, but with the thousands of puppies being imported from Ireland and the rest of Europe (puppies bred on industrial scale puppy farms). These too are being sold to pet shops and puppy dealers. THIS IS ALL PERFECTLY LEGAL.

We, and many others have continued to lobby government on virtually a daily basis to get a ban enforced so that EVERY dog breeder has to open their doors to public scrutiny. Unfortunately, and although many of you don’t want to hear it, a handful of the largest and richest national charities are doing the complete OPPOSITE*. They are actively lobbying government to keep this network of puppy dealing going, knowing this will keep thousands of dogs suffering on puppy farms, and ensuring thousands of sick puppies imported into the country will continue to be sold to puppy dealers. They will tell you their reasons are based on a belief that a ban won’t or can’t work – they’re wrong. We have our own thoughts on what their real reasons really are, but we’ll keep those to ourselves for now. (*We have the evidence)

Below is a screenshot of a paragraph taken from a letter issued by Lord Gardiner. This paragraph clearly states that ‘a number of established welfare charities have advised against a ban on third party puppy sales of puppies’.

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Below is a screenshot of the response by George Eustice to Justin Tomlinson MP on the issue of a ban on third party sales of puppies. George Eustice’s response clearly states ‘Evidence was also presented to the recent EFRA Committee inquiry by Blue Cross, and The Dogs Trust on the annual demand and the risks of applying such a ban.’

response-from-george-eusticeThankfully, we are not alone. There are other charities and organisations out there lobbying for a ban because unlike the speculation being offered to Government by these three powerful charities, organisations lobbying FOR a ban can support this with evidence; these include IFAW, OneKind, Brian May’s Save Me Trust, Naturewatch and more recently due to their revised position, the RSPCA.

Another great campaigning organisation called Protect All Wildlife has started a petition urging Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to reverse their stance on this ban and do the right thing for the dogs. These three charities have the ear of the Minister and the Minister has acted according to their wishes and dismissed EFRA’s and the RSPCA’s recommendation for a ban on selling puppies in pet shops and by third parties. We have been told that this consultation is the last chance for this ban to be considered by Westminster for many years. So, at the eleventh hour we are desperately asking them to reverse their decision as it seems that Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and Battersea hold all the cards for the future of our nation’s long suffering puppy farm dogs and pet shop puppies.

As an aside: Even if selling puppies in pet shops wasn’t linked to the puppy farming industry, we would have thought that these charities would be fighting tooth and nail to stop puppies being sold like commodities in pet shops. These are sensitive, intelligent sentient beings, not groceries or electrical goods. But the fact that the third party puppy trade is inextricably linked to the cruelty of puppy farming makes it even more disappointing that they have lobbied the Government to dismiss calls for a ban – especially after all the evidence we have provided to these charities in so many face to face meetings with them.

We love dogs and we know you do to. If you want to see an end to puppy farming, if you believe that selling puppies in pet shops as commodities is wrong, PLEASE read this blog by Protect All Wildlife and sign and support their petition to these three charities as a matter of urgency. The clock is ticking and time is sadly running out for the dogs … thank you.

https://protectallwildlifeblog.wordpress.com/dogs-trust-blue-cross-battersea-please-dont-let-puppies-keep-being-sold-by-pet-shops/

#BanPetShopPups

Sometimes the truth hurts. Tough! Dogs are dying and we MUST be their voice.

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Over the coming days, weeks and months we’re going to be speaking the truth. You won’t always like what we have to say, but it will be truth based on evidence and years of experience.

Thousands of dogs are suffering on puppy farms and in pet shops and they’ve been suffering for decades. When we first started C.A.R.I.A.D. we were naïve about why this had been allowed to continue for so long. But now we understand. We understand because we have taken the time to meet face to face with people. The public, breeders both good and bad, vets, behaviourists, Councils both good and bad, welfare organisations large and small, the pet trade, AMs, MPs and MEPs.

This type of suffering doesn’t happen by chance, it is being enabled by inadequate legislation, ineffective council officials and a vast network of people and organisations that so many of us have had great faith in all our lives. But regrettably many have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. In other words, they are saying one thing publicly but behind our backs they are doing something quite different so that the cruel puppy trade continues, no matter the consequences to the dogs, the puppies or YOU the public.

Some of these people and organisations have tried to silence us and some may try to again. But their threats, false accusations and attempts to denigrate us are nothing more than distraction techniques designed to not only try and derail the truth but to disguise their own failings, ignorance and in many cases pure self-interest and financial greed.

Now in our seventh year of campaigning and lobbying we have, over time, been gradually peeling away the skin of an onion and revealed layers that have made us cry discovering things we could never have imagined at the beginning of this journey. We thought the greatest enemies of the dogs were the puppy farmers themselves. But what has emerged has in some cases shocked us to the core. The real politics of puppy farming and the puppy trade in the UK is shameful. And now it’s time for those responsible to be publicly challenged.  At the end of the day, knowledge is power. And 2017 is the year when we will provide you with that knowledge so that the balance of power is returned to the public and ultimately to the dogs we all care about.

#PuppiLeaks

DEFRA DECEMBER 24TH – IMAGINE

Posted: December 24, 2016 in Diary

24TH DECEMBER – Today, the dogs need you to read and share our ‘IMAGINE’ blog. Why? Because we can dare to dream.

IMAGINE … THERE ARE NO PUPPY FARMS (it isn’t hard to do)

‘Twas the day before Christmas and in a change from our usual schedule, we journey into a fantasy world. A world without puppy farming and other forms of canine exploitation. What could an idealistic dog world look like and how would it affect dogs, dog lovers, the pet industry, charities and society?

If  you’re sitting comfortably, we’ll begin…

Picture in your mind only healthy, well socialised and genetically sound puppies being born – whether pedigrees, cross breeds or mixed breeds. Puppies that are healthy, happy and valued family members; bred from healthy, happy parents, cared for as cherished companions instead of being used as breeding machines and treated like commodities as they were back in 2016 when puppy farming and back street breeding were rampant.

Now, as you might expect these puppies aren’t cheap because they’re not mass produced. But boy are they worth every penny, and also the time people have to wait to buy one because, unlike the bad old days, in this world you can’t just buy a puppy in an instant or on a whim.

You have to put your name down on a waiting list because these carefully bred puppies are only sold to people who can prove they are committed to a lifetime of caring for them as members of their family. Gone are the Dickensian days of puppies being sold in pet shops or advertised on internet classifieds. And you definitely can’t get a puppy delivered to you.

When your puppy is ready, you take home a cute fluffy bundle of joy that is as healthy as possible and has the perfect temperament to be in a family environment with children. Because your puppy has had the best start to life, the whole dog owning experience is a real joy.

In this alternate universe, as a dog guardian (we dispensed with the term ‘owner’ back in 2020) you have a dog licence which provides councils with funds to support and enforce animal welfare in their counties as well as providing dog friendly spaces where you can exercise your canine friend in complete safety.

Every dog has a third generation RFID chip that means all dogs can be tracked (making dog theft virtually impossible). Every dog in the country is accounted for through a central database from the moment he or she is born to the moment they pass away. These chips also prove invaluable in providing their guardians and the veterinary profession with data on how their dogs are feeling, both physically and emotionally, so that they can respond to their needs quickly.

Because these puppies are healthy, with wonderful temperaments and are easy to train – more and more people who once considered that getting a dog was a bit of a lottery, now want a canine companion or two, or three in their lives. Well, because there are no more puppy farms and back street breeders, no more imported pups from puppy farms in Europe and Ireland, to cater for this high canine demand more and more smaller caring, high welfare breeders have emerged.

But what about rescue dogs I hear you ask? Well here’s the really good news. Since people stopped being able to buy cheap, mass produced puppies with health and behaviour problems, they’ve  stopped relinquishing their dogs to rescues. Because people have to wait to buy a puppy and pay quite a lot of money for their new friend, the days when people used any old excuse to ditch their dog because they were too much work, too old, they’d become bored with them, or had chosen the wrong type of dog for their lifestyle, are long gone.

Dogs are no longer considered to be fashion accessories either, so breeds never become ‘trends’ that go out of style. Yes, in this alternate universe, people do everything they can to ensure that their loved dog is a dog for life. They can’t imagine parting with them for any reason. In fact the only dogs that still do end up in care centres are there because their owners have passed away or have gone into care homes and no other family members are suitable or willing guardians. But these few dogs are never without a home for long because dogs of all ages and sizes are so valued in this world.

There are no strays or dumped dogs either, because every dog born is accounted for and every guardian is accountable for ensuring they are kept safe, healthy and cared for.

Breed Specific Legislation no longer exists because it was finally understood that controlling canine aggression and biting wasn’t about a ‘breed’ at all, but about ‘breeding’ and education. And as  puppy farming no longer exists, it’s no coincidence that reports of dog bites are now almost unheard of.

Greyhound racing has also been consigned to the history books having been replaced by virtual dog racing, so the gambling industry can still rake in billions of pounds without having blood on its hands.

Service dogs such as those who help sniff out drugs, search for missing people, detect cancer or assist the disabled now have special legal status, with penalties of life imprisonment for anyone deliberately seeking to harm them. While anyone found guilty of hurting an animal is now given a custodial sentence of 10 years without parole and banned for life from keeping any animals. Such deterrents have seen very few instances of animal cruelty since being introduced.

An added bonus for dogs themselves is that the complex health problems certain breeds had once been forced to suffer through misguided breeding standards and human vanity – you know the ones that left flat faced dogs like Pugs unable to breathe properly, Cavaliers with skulls too small for their brains and German Shepherds with sloping backs that left them crippled – have finally, completely been eradicated.

Of course, this idyllic new world also means that without a constant supply of dogs needing to be rehomed – and unlike back in the day when big charities had to raise millions from public donations to open more and more new state of the art kennels – these big centres have been able to close their doors.

With most dogs now staying with their families for life and more people wanting at least one dog in their family, the pet industry has flourished. People spend more and more on their adored friends for many more years. As dogs now live longer, healthier lives, the UK has become totally dog friendly so people don’t have to leave their four legged friends at home as much as they once did. And those companies that allow people to bring their dogs to work find their employees are more productive and contented as a result.

Another cool side effect is significantly lower premiums on pet insurance because dogs don’t get ill so often, and it’s only when they have unfortunate accidents and hurt themselves that they really need expensive veterinary treatment.

Our utopian UK dog world is full of people who have been well-educated about caring for and respecting our non-human friends because animal welfare has been part of the school curriculum for decades now.

Science has moved on from testing on all animals and so our beagle friends and others dog breeds who were once tortured for the pharmaceutical industry’s benefit, never have to fear being used in laboratories ever again.

And so, in this wonderful, idyllic world for our best friends, the long-held knowledge that pets are good for people can now finally be returned, because at last people are also good for pets.

Just imagine …

Of course, people of a certain age might say that some things in this fantastical future dog world are reminiscent of a bygone era. Before everything was mass produced and disposable. Before the internet. Before we knew the cost of everything and the value of nothing …

To those who are campaigning just as hard to end all other forms of animal abuse, never give up. However hard the battle and however many unreasonable obstacles are thrown at you, you are the only hope that one day we might live in a kinder, safer world where all sentient beings can exist without fear, pain or suffering.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that people once branded those who said they wanted to land on the moon as fantasists and idealists. But man did walk on the moon because someone, somewhere had the passion and will to make it a reality.

Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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WHY PUPPY FARMING MAY NEVER END

Posted: December 23, 2016 in Diary

For years we have held meetings with the biggest UK charities who have an interest in dogs and provided them with evidence about the detrimental effect of selling puppies away from their mothers. We’ve helped to educate them about what third party sales actually means – yes, they were unclear and in some cases unaware about how current legislation works and why it directly fuels and enables puppy farming.

There is a great deal that we are unable to say publicly about those discussions, however, the most disturbing aspect of our meetings over the last 12 months with them has been to hear senior representatives of these much loved and respected charities dismiss hard evidence in favour of speculation and assumption that has no basis in fact. And in some instances U-turn on their previous support for a ban.

Dogs Trust says a ban would be a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, which begs the question, how many years do they need to understand that puppies being sold away from their mothers in pet shops is morally and ethically wrong? And Blue Cross states that a ban “will not solve the issue of poor welfare standards in puppy breeding”, failing to understand that it would be the most significant way to eradicate puppy farming altogether. As for any charity using the excuse that a ban would ‘drive the trade underground’ they’re basically saying that people would actively look for puppies from criminals – the way drug addicts look for a hit. Wrong again. The majority of the public are trying desperately hard to source puppies responsibly but are being failed by a law that allows them to legally buy puppies away from their mothers.

We’ve learned a great deal about what drives these charities to be run as businesses and we’ve held all this information close to our chests for a long time because we have never wished any of these charities any harm. In fact, rightly or wrongly, we’ve been protecting them for a long time because, despite our disagreements with their senior management and directors, we believe the work of the people on the ground at these charities is genuine and heartfelt and to be applauded.

However, after much soul searching, and having to deal with the heartache of so many people who have been duped by this evil, legal trade and seen too many puppies die and too many puppy farm breeding dogs suffer, we can no longer protect these charities from themselves because that is not our job. Our job is to protect the dogs and puppies from policies that continue to allow their exploitation, neglect and cruelty at the hands of the puppy trade.

It gives us no pleasure to reveal that despite providing them with our evidence and hard data, and in many cases actually begging them to do the right thing, they have chosen not to and instead have been actively lobbying Government not to impose the ban on third party selling that was recommended by the Efra Committee. In doing so these charities have effectively signed a death warrant for thousands of our canine friends and their pups.

We know this will be hard for many of you to accept. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Here are just a few examples of why we are so deeply disappointed in the way they have lobbied Government to keep puppies in pet shops and prolong the suffering of puppy farm breeding dogs.

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23RD DECEMBER – Today, the dogs need you to promote and support the call by leading animal welfare charity, OneKind for a ban on the third-party sale of dogs in Scotland.

Click on the image below to read their press release.

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It came ahead of a debate lodged by Emma Harper MSP on ending the Illegal Puppy Trade. Motion S5M-02454 was debated in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 21st December.

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You can watch the debate here.

OneKind is yet another wonderful organisation supporting a legislative ban on all third-party sales of dogs, which would cover pet shop sales and dealers.

To support the work of OneKind, please visit their Facebook page and website.

Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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22ND DECEMBER – Today, the dogs would like you to participate in ‘Puppy Farm Question Time’ live on Facebook.

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Tonight, C.A.R.I.A.D. Founder Linda Goodman (aka Cari Hound) will be on our Facebook page to answer your questions about puppy farming and the puppy trade. She’ll be answering in real-time on our Defra December 22nd – Puppy Farm Question Time post and will get through as many of your questions as possible during the hour.

So join us on Facebook tonight from 7pm-8pm and get involved!

Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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21ST DECEMBER – Today, the dogs need you to participate in a quick game. Why? Because we must never let anyone forget that the pursuit of animal welfare is anything but trivial.

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For us, as well as for many others, campaigning for effective dog welfare is a priority. The problem is that the laws as they stand are incapable of protecting our canine friends – as well as every other species.

In the case of dogs, the biggest reason comes down to money. Firstly, there are too many people who view breeding dogs as easy money. And secondly there is too little money available from governments to ensure that even the Animal Welfare Act is effectively policed and enforced.

The more complex the legislation the more it is guaranteed to fail. The less decisive the legislation the more likely it is to allow grey areas where loopholes will be exploited by the unscrupulous.

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As we move into 2017, we will continue our dialogue with members of the EFRA Committee and decision makers at DEFRA to ensure we see effective national legislation and enforcement.

C.A.R.I.A.D. and our Coalition partners are committed to campaigning for solutions and working together on strategies to help make all legislation worth the paper it’s printed on for the dogs.

Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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20TH DECEMBER – Today, the dogs need you to support the dedicated and determined Linton Pet Shop Protestors – a group of amazing people who are saying no to puppies in pet shops through their tireless peaceful protesting and the challenging of government officials and the licensing laws.

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Here are some of their team standing up for puppy farmed dogs and their puppies.

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You can sign the petition here.

If you would like to attend one of the peaceful protests they’ll be holding over the coming week including one on Christmas Eve between 10.30 am – 11.30 am outside Linton Pet Store in Hare Hatch near Twyford, please contact the group through their Facebook page.

Joining them on Christmas Eve will be a cuddly Suzy Puppy from the excellent P.U.P.S. campaign from IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare).

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You can help with their £2,500 legal costs, to defend there right to protest outside Linton Pet Shop here.

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Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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19TH DECEMBER – Today the dogs need your dog to share a Christmas message for the thousands of puppy farm dogs who are huddling together to keep warm, or are hungry for food, or thirsty for water, or in pain with rotting teeth and untreated infections – or all of these terrible things.

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These are the dogs that for yet another year have had their puppies taken away from them and transported hundreds of miles away to be sold in licensed pet shops and by licensed puppy dealers for the festive season.

These are the dogs who inspired us for December 1st – Why a Ban?

For puppy farm breeding dogs both female and male, this is not a season of joy and goodwill.

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We will NEVER stop fighting for them and if, like us, you stand with the dogs, please share your own beloved dog’s message on your social media pages for these invisible, voiceless dogs and tag Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government on your photo so they can see it too.

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Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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18TH DECEMBER – Today, the dogs need you to remember our brave little friend Lucy the Rescue Cavalier by joining people around the world in a minute’s silence.

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Our friends and fellow campaigners Boycott Dogs4Us will be holding a minute’s silence at their Puppies Are Not Presents! Manchester Protest, which is being held today between 1.00 pm – 3.30 pm. outside the Dogs4Us puppy superstore in Manchester.

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If you can get to Manchester today, please show your support. It would be amazing to have as many people as possible at this peaceful protest during the minute’s silence for Lucy. Before the minute’s silence messages in remembrance of Lucy will be read out by our friends at Boycott Dogs4Us. Full details of the event can be found at the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/204476310009444/

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A minute’s silence in memory of brave, sweet Lucy The Rescue Cavalier will commence today at 2.30 pm.

Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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17TH DECEMBER – Today, the dogs have a very simple ask – to invite your friends to ‘like’ our C.A.R.I.A.D. Facebook page. Why? Because the more people who learn about puppy farming and the puppy trade, the more dogs we can save together and more families will be spared the heartbreak of buying sick puppies.

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https://www.facebook.com/CARIADcampaign/

Read more about our Defra December campaign here.

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