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Every year we run a STOPTOBER campaign to spread the message about not buying puppies in pet shops and via third party puppy dealers. This remains a most important message if we are to end the suffering of breeding dogs in the UK’s puppy farms because it is a mode of selling that enables the suffering of breeding dogs to remain behind closed doors.

However, there are of course a number of other things that need to STOP too and we thought you should know what this STOPTOBER is about from C.A.R.I.A.D.’s point of view. Here are some of the things we want to STOP now:

Puppy Farm Dogs

We want the pet and welfare industry and media to STOP making the public the scapegoats of a trade that has for decades been given a veneer of respectability through so called ‘licensing and regulation’. Public protection against the puppy trade is currently virtually non-existent.

Puppy Farm Dogs

We want Governments both national and devolved to STOP putting the onus on puppy buyers to educate themselves when there is no government funded education or awareness being offered – the only advice that is offered by governments is done so at no cost as it is online and extremely discreet.

Puppy Farm Dogs

We want Governments both national and devolved to STOP passing the buck when it comes to taking responsibility for enforcement of breeding and sales of dogs regulations to Councils and Local Authorities. STOP telling us that it’s not your responsibility. If you sign off these Regs then stand by them or stand aside.

Puppy Farm Dogs

We want Councils and Local Authorities to STOP pretending they have everything under control. You haven’t the expertise, manpower or in some cases will to ensure that licensing conditions are being met to the letter. If you did then we would not continue to see breeding dogs coming out of your licensed establishments in such appalling physical and psychological health. You know full well that the current regulations in Wales are unenforceable. Either you’re happy to continue looking inept and should therefore be held accountable by the public for the animal cruelty that is happening on your watch, or you accept that you are being expected by Government to do the impossible and tell Government that the situation is unacceptable right now.

Puppy Farm Dogs

We want the sickening level of hypocrisy to STOP by some very large organisations and charities who continue to advise the public not to buy puppies in pet shops but who don’t feel strongly enough about protecting the dogs, puppies or public, to want legislation changed that would end this practice. And we want you to STOP begging the public for donations on the back of your spurious campaigns of spin about how awful puppy farming is when you have done absolutely nothing to highlight or eradicate the cruelty of the licensed trade but instead conveniently continue to focus on illegal imports and puppy smuggling (ironically two areas where a third-party ban would have had an enormous impact.)

Puppy Farm Dogs

We want DEFRA to learn by past mistakes and STOP continuing down the same path they’ve always done by having policy and legislation influenced and determined by the usual subjects who will once again get it wrong for the dogs and for the public. Just as they have always done. You either want to fix the problem by looking at the hard scientific evidence and data, or you are prepared to allow the problem to continue on the basis of speculation and assumption with no basis in fact.

Protect The Dogs Protect The Public

We recently received the most amazing message from a wonderful lady called Anna who had not only completed our Great British Ex-Breeding Dog Survey, but had shared with us the poem she’d written for her puppy farm survivor rescue Labrador, Penny.

A Poem for Penny is a poem of survival, determination, hope, happiness and ultimately, LOVE. We are truly honoured to be sharing Anna’s poem as well as photographs of Penny and Anna’s other rescue, the adorable Scrappy. Are we in love … you bet!

Penny and Scrappy

A POEM FOR PENNY

Penny was a cocoa bean
The cutest one you’ve ever seen
But born in the dark
No heat, no sun,
No warmth, no light
No games, no fun.
A noisy box, a smelly bed
No human touch on her fluffy head

As months went by not much had changed
Still not a pet, still with no name
She thought this is what life’s about
She thought that without any doubt
Her life was all for giving birth
That raising babies was her worth
Until they left her for a home
and poor Penny would remain alone

Then one day Penny left that place
A sullen look upon her face
Her baby making days were through
What was she now supposed to do?
She found herself inside a cage
With other dogs around her age
With sunshine, food and different smells
That was clean and pleasant, for a cell
Humans passed and said hello
She wasn’t sure which way to go
People were not things she’d seen
She only knew that they were mean

Until one day a couple came
And smiled and gave her a new name
“Penny, you are coming home
To run and eat and play and roam
And make our couple up to 3
To turn us into a family”

4 years have passed, and Penny says
She’s not forgotten those early days
But now she’s happy, with daddy and mummy,
A comfy bed and a full tummy
A place where she can run and jump
Her coat is shiny and she’s plump!
A family to call her own
If only she had always known
That this is how a dog should live
With humans who have love to give
Not in a dark and lonesome place
Never seeing a kindly face

So next time when you see a pup
And cuddle him and pick him up
And think ‘so cute, I want a dog’
I’ll find an online catalogue
Of angelic faces, cute as ever
Puppy farm? Oh no, oh never!
Remember Penny, sad and lonely
In her box all skin and boney
Making puppies by the dozen
Along with her mum, sister and cousin
So that someone can make some money
And take a plane to somewhere sunny

Go find yourself a rescue page
There’s dogs of every size and age
All with stories that they cannot tell
Who’ll love you forever, just as well
As any pup you buy online
As long as you give them some time
To know you and to know you’re there
To love and hold, to feed and care
Cos rescue dogs aren’t bad or lame
They’re dogs, they’re pets, they’re not to blame
So Penny says “don’t shop, adopt”
And get the puppy farmers stopped

Penny and Scrappy 2

There’s not a moment in the day when we aren’t thinking about and working hard to end the suffering of the thousands of breeding dogs and their puppies still suffering in licensed and unlicensed puppy farms across the UK.

Today, we’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge the plight of other victims in the dark world of the puppy trade – the families caught up in an industry that is designed to pray on the emotions of people who just want to share their lives with a doggy companion. The families who opened their hearts and their homes to a puppy only for their hearts to be torn apart by an industry that doesn’t give a damn about dogs, puppies or families.

These are the often silent victims of the puppy trade, the victims often too scared and more often than not, too ashamed, to speak out. Today, we acknowledge the bravery of the families who have taken the decision to speak out.

Recently, investigative journalist Andrew Penman gave a voice to a number of families and their puppies by way of hard-hitting and revealing articles. For the purpose of this blog we’re focusing on the two brave families who spoke out in Andrew’s most recent article.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/quarter-puppies-bought-impulse-sick-11163361

Pixie-Belle

Lily

Pixie-Belle and Lily were very much wanted and very much loved puppies. Thankfully Lily remains a very much loved family member. Although the phrases ‘impulse purchase’ and ‘purchased on a whim’ are often used when describing the purchasing of puppies from licensed pet shops and puppy dealers, we recognise that it is more complex and goes much deeper than that. We know from experience that the entire puppy farming, puppy dealing and pet shop industry prays on our love of dogs and the joy sharing our lives with doggy companions brings. We also know of the often hard sell techniques used by the puppy trade to emotionally blackmail vulnerable puppy buyers, guilting them into a purchase. And what’s worse, this industry is licensed – an industry licensed to kill.

Pixie-Belle and Lily were purchased from a licensed pet shop currently under investigation by C.A.R.I.A.D.. At this point we should state that we do not undertake these investigations lightly, if an individual or business is under investigation, it is for good reason. We have reported this particular licensed pet shop and its vet to the authorities, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the RSPCA and yet here we are, still fighting for justice for the dogs and their families.

We were bitterly disappointed last week when the RSPCA told us they didn’t have enough evidence to proceed with any action against this puppy seller, despite C.A.R.I.A.D. having provided them with considerable documentation. But we are determined to get justice for Pixie-Belle and Lily and every other puppy and family affected by puppy farming and the third-party puppy trade.

One of the most telling things about the experiences of people who have bought puppies from licensed pet shops and puppy dealers is that the majority tell us that they’re too afraid to go public for fear of recrimination by the puppy seller, or that they have been threatened by them if they speak out. What an utterly shocking indictment of this ‘licensed and regulated’ puppy trade. But be under no illusions, this is an industry that has a lot to hide and a lot of money to protect.

This is a trade built on the notion that licensing means legitimate. And it continues to be given a veneer of respectability by those whose brands continue to allow themselves to be associated with it through ‘puppy packs’ and also by those who continue to be an embarrassment to the veterinary profession by being complicit with this vile industry. The late Pixie-Belle came with free Petplan insurance, a veterinary examination certificate from the onsite vet and the vacuous backing of a licensed pet shop. What Pixie-Belle didn’t come with was good genetics and the name of her breeder. To this day, the pet shop that sold her refuses to name Pixie-Belle’s or Lily’s breeders. Transparency simply does not exist in this industry. And without transparency there can be no public protection.

Governments both national and devolved stress time and again that ‘public education’ is the key. But it is very hard to educate members of the public when they believe that if something is legal and licensed it must be okay. How do you convince the public to stop doing something that is at present completely legal? Putting the onus on the public to ‘do the right thing’ but making it perfectly legal for them not to is not only a contradiction in terms, it is perverse.

In Wales this is exacerbated by the term Model Licence Conditions which sound impressive. But having been in force since 2015 and still not reviewed as promised by the Welsh Government, have proven to be as effective at protecting these exploited dogs as a chocolate fireguard. In fact, not only are they ineffective, they are largely unenforceable. Not just our opinion but also that of one of the Welsh Councils that is notorious for its sub-standard attention to dog welfare.

One look at the dogs that come out of these establishments – their compromised physical and emotional health – is the most incriminating evidence of all.

Stop Puppy Farming

In March 2017, Canine Action UK submitted a Freedom of Information request to DEFRA requesting specific information relating to the Government’s response to the EFRA inquiry into Animal Welfare: Domestic Pets.

In its published response to EFRA’s recommendation for a ban on the third party sale of dogs DEFRA stated:

“We have considered the matter very carefully including in light of the views of many welfare charities.” and “We note that a number of established welfare charities with experience and knowledge of the sector have ADVISED AGAINST a ban on third party sales.”

We wondered which welfare charities had offered views relating to EFRA’s recommendation and under what circumstances they had provided opinions – as no official consultation had taken place since the publication of the report that we were aware of. We were also concerned and surprised that ‘a number’ of welfare charities had apparently ‘advised against’ a ban, given that the 2014 Pup Aid petition had been supported by the major welfare charities.

The Freedom of Information request asked:

1. Which welfare charities provided views specifically relating to this recommendation? Please can you indicate whether the views of these charities favoured or opposed a ban and if they provided evidence to support their views.

DEFRA’s answer: We considered a number of responses to the EFRA enquiry. However, in October 2016 the Dogs Trust and Blue Cross provided us with a joint briefing on the EFRA enquiry, separate from their submissions to EFRA during their call for evidence. A copy of the joint briefing is enclosed.

Below is a copy of the joint briefing document, submitted by Dogs Trust and Blue Cross in October 2016 and separate from their evidence submissions to EFRA.

Joint Briefing Document Page 1

 

Joint Briefing Document Page 2

Joint Briefing Document Page 3

The joint briefing, issued to DEFRA ahead of the publication of the EFRA report raised concerns that a ban on third party sales of puppies was “not currently a practical solution” and suggested that the “most effective way to tackle and improve the breeding and subsequent selling of all dogs, not just puppies, is to introduce an effective registration and licensing system.”

We were also concerned that the Government’s decision seemed to be strongly influenced by one particular sector – ‘welfare charities’, therefore the FOI request also asked:

2. Did the Government consult stakeholder groups other than welfare charities specifically in relation to this recommendation? If yes, please indicate which stakeholder groups were contacted (e.g. BVA, Local Government Association etc.) and indicate whether these groups favoured or were opposed to a ban.

DEFRA’s answer: We did not consult any organisations, animal welfare or otherwise, in preparing the Government’s response to EFRA.

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Following the success of The Great British Puppy Survey in 2016, and the significant data gathered about the puppy buying habits of the UK public, welfare groups C.A.R.I.A.D., Pup Aid, The Karlton Index and Canine Action UK officially launched The Great British Ex-Breeding Dog Survey at Pup Aid in Primrose Hill on Saturday, 2nd September 2017.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/greatbritishexbreedingdogsurvey

This is the first survey of its kind that looks at the experiences of people who have adopted or fostered dogs when their breeding lives are over, regardless of which type of breeder or breeding establishment they have come from.

The survey will gather information about the physical and psychological health and welfare of the UK’s rescued or retired breeding dogs over the last 7 years and as with the Great British Puppy Survey, the results will be shared in a Report later in the year, with the wider canine welfare community.

The Great British Ex-Breeding Dog Survey Flyer

We urge all rescues and breed clubs to share the Survey with their social media followers and members to ensure the widest range of experiences with ex-breeding dogs are included.

The Great British Ex-Breeding Dog Survey will run until November 4, 2017.

Group Photo

LEGAL CHALLENGE: That a commercial breeding establishment licensed for 200 breeding dogs CANNOT comply with the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (potentially setting a legal precedent).

PRESS RELEASE & CASE HISTORY – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10TH MAY 2017

In April 2016, Chancepixies Animal Welfare are a small, independent charity registered in England and Wales, dedicated to preventing abandonment and neglect of animals in our country and reduce the need for rescue launched a legal challenge against North Kesteven District Council and its decision to licence a commercial dog breeding establishment for 200 breeding dogs.

The legal challenge in the form of Judicial Review was on the grounds that the decision to licence ‘interested party, Little Rascals’ did not take into consideration requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. In short, Chancepixies are challenging through the courts the legal requirement that all dogs, including dogs on commercial dog breeding establishments (puppy farms) be afforded the five freedoms of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and licensing authorities must take into account the full requirements of this act when assessing whether to licence an establishment for the purposes of breeding dogs.

Co-founder and Trustee Mrs Heidi Anderson says “Local authorities have control of dog breeding in their areas. They have the power to grant or refuse dog breeding licences and to set out conditions attached to licences. On 20 January 2016, North Kesteven District Council granted a license to a Lincolnshire puppy farm to keep 200 breeding bitches and 59 stud dogs, and in so doing they completely ignored the Animal Welfare Act 2006. We visited the establishment in 2013, the first year its licence allowed them to hold 200 breeding bitches. The puppies/litters on display were on clean wood-shavings and appeared outwardly healthy, but the sad truth is that this is not a suitable, natural environment for a domestic pet dog to live in; this was very much a farmyard environment. The premises is an old dairy farm; the buildings in use were designed to keep cattle. The public are not allowed access to the majority of the buildings, a small number of the 60 stud dogs were ‘on display’ (eight small males of various breeds in a small pen in the yard), [and] other than that there were no other adult dogs on view. The dogs are clearly not cared for, raised or treated as the domestic pets that they were designed for and are sold as, despite the basic rights of a suitable environment, ability to exhibit natural behaviour and to be free from suffering, pain or disease being protected under the AWA.”

If successful, this case will set a precedent by ensuring that all dogs used for the purposes of breeding are afforded the five freedoms of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and that councils will no longer be able to issue dog breeding licences to commercial dog breeding establishments (puppy farms) that currently operate outside the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

ROUND 1

On 25th April 2016, North Kesteven District Council submitted their response to the courts, which contained the admittance that ‘the license application needs to be considered afresh and a new inspection take place.’ Further contained within the council response was an accusation that Chancepixies did not have the standing to be able to launch such a case on the basis that ‘the small charity bringing the claim are not impacted by the claim and are based in Dover.’ This claim was strongly refuted by Chancepixies. North Kesteven District Council subsequently cancelled the existing dog breeding licence and reissued a new licence under new terms having corrected several mistakes.

Chancepixies challenged the re-determining of the dog breeding licence having already challenged North Kesteven District Council’s decision to grant a dog breeding licence to Little Rascals in January 2016.

On 28 June 2016, High Court judge Mr Justice Edis granted Chancepixies ‘Permission’ to challenge North Kesteven District Council having agreed that the flaws identified by the Chancepixies legal team in the licence granted by North Kesteven in January 2016 were arguable.

ROUND ONE TO CHANCEPIXIES ANIMAL WELFARE

INTERMEDIATE CHALLENGE

On 21st July 2016, Chancepixies appeared in court for a third time. The signs remained positive that North Kesteven District Council would concede the challenge to the January 2016 dog breeding licence.

On 5th September 2016, Chancepixies were rewarded with their first success – the Courts ruled that the dog breeding licences issued in 2016 by North Kesteven District Council were technically unlawful. The court hearing was vacated as all parties agreed to the quashing of the dog breeding licences issued in January 2016 and June 2016 respectively.

A sealed order was subsequently received granting North Kesteven District Council until 23.59 hours on 18th October 2016 to reach a decision on whether or not to grant a new licence to Little Rascals/Swindells Livestock Ltd/Key Lime Tree Ltd.

North Kesteven District Council were issued with a court order for legal costs.

ROUND 2

On 18th October 2016, North Kesteven District Council granted Little Racals a dog breeding licence for 200 breeding dogs.

On 1st December 2016, Chancepixies submitted a 30 page ‘Pre-Action’ protocol letter to North Kesteven District Council following the council’s decision to relicense Little Rascals for 200 breeding bitches. Chancepixies challenged the council’s decision on animal welfare grounds and the council were given 14 days to respond.

Following the anticipated North Kesteven District Council response to the Pre-Action protocol letter, Chancepixies filed a Permission Bundle to the Courts for Judicial Review number two against North Kesteven District Council just before Christmas 2016.

On 4th May 2017, the Honourable Mr Justice Collins – High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division – in the matter of an application for Judicial Review, granted permission to Chancepixies Animal Welfare to proceed with their case against North Kesteven District Council. The Honourable Mr Justice Collins observed that regards the question as to whether a Commercial Breeding Enterprise of the size of that run by Little Rascals can comply with the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is arguable that sufficient regard was not given in the decision to the requirements under the 2006 Act.

At the time of writing, despite being issued with a court order for costs during the September 2016 hearing, North Kesteven District Council have not complied with this order and costs remain outstanding.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AND WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PUPPY FARM DOGS?

Chancepixies Animal Welfare and their team of highly regarded lawyers from Bindmans LLP (Salima Budhani) and Matrix Chambers (David Wolfe QC) have been granted legal permission to proceed with Judicial Review against North Kesteven District Council and ‘interested party’ Little Rascals.

If successful, this case could set a LEGAL PRECEDENT in terms of the way commercial dog breeding establishments are licensed and the protections afforded to dogs on those premises. In short, this LEGAL PRECEDENT could signify the end of battery farming of dogs (puppy farming). Thousands of dogs currently housed in puppy farms are afforded none of the protections under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and were councils legally obliged to give consideration to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 when granting a dog breeding licence, then many of these puppy farms would be refused a dog breeding licence.

So, what happens next …

Legal challenges of this nature are costly, and as a result Chancepixies Animal Welfare – a small independent charity based in Kent – must raise in the region of £50,000 as a matter of urgency. Not only will these funds cover legal costs, but they will protect this small charity should they lose their case.

Although this is a huge undertaking by a small, independent charity, Chancepixies refuse to give up when thousands of breeding dogs in the UK are enduring unimaginable suffering on licensed commercial breeding establishments because those responsible for licensing these establishments deem these dogs to be less important than those we share our homes with.

Chancepixies are the only organisation to have taken on this mammoth undertaking, and it’s only right and just that we all unite with them against a system that puts profit before welfare.

North Kesteven District Council stated in one of their many responses ‘This is not such a grave case …’. We beg to differ!

Contact Information:

Chancepixies Animal Welfare
T: 01304 204429 / 07881888560
E: enquiries@chancepixies.com / hmanderson79@gmail.com
http://www.chancepixies.com
Txt: PIXI35£10 to 70070
http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/chancepixies
PayPal: enquiries@chancepixies.com

Bindmans LLP was founded in 1974 by pre-eminent human rights and civil liberties lawyer Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC (Hon). Since then we have built a formidable reputation for our commitment to human rights and our ethical, creative and campaigning approach to legal issues. We often represent some of the most vulnerable people in society and champion cases which challenge the law.

For further information please contact:
Salima Budhani
Judicial Review and Public law
T: +44 (0)20 7833 4433
Bindmans Press Office
T: +44 (0)20 7833 4433

PRESS RELEASE & CASE HISTORY (PDF) – Chancepixies Press Release and Case History

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TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE HISTORY FOR PUPPY FARM DOGS AND THEIR PUPPIES!

One of the counter arguments to banning the third party sales of puppies is that a ban is totally unenforceable because the illegal activity would be impossible to monitor and there aren’t enough resources to take action. We’re here to prove a ban is highly ENFORCEABLE.

Below are details of a number of cases where illegal/unlicensed pet shops and puppy dealers (third party sellers) have been successfully investigated and prosecuted. What this information shows is that not only is a third party ban highly enforceable, but that the authorities, the police and the RSPCA have a desire to investigate and enforce it.

WORD DOCUMENT: Unlicensed Illegal Pet Shop Prosecutions

PDF DOCUMENT: Unlicensed Illegal Pet Shop Prosecutions

Unlicensed Illegal Pet Shop Prosecutions

Counter this with the numerous investigations C.A.R.I.A.D. has undertaken, and continues to undertake into licensed pet shops and puppy dealers, and the fact that the authorities, the police and in some instances even the RSPCA have shown absolutely no will, desire or impetus to investigate let alone prosecute. Some such cases involve pet shop licence holders (third party sellers) Little Rascals, Richard Kendall, Peter Kendall, Stacey Hayward, Catwalk Pets, Willow Farm Kennels, to name but a few. What we have here is evidence that licensing legitimises the third party trade and protects those operating under it, whereas a ban would ensure that those operating illegally under a ban could easily be flushed out, investigated and prosecuted.

So when you hear that a ban won’t work, that there aren’t the resources to enforce such a ban and that licensing is the solution –  please refer these people/organisations to this blog.

AND NOW FOR THE SCIENCE BIT

Posted: March 29, 2017 in Diary

Not our usual sort of blog, but one that contains information that has been referenced in our animal welfare submissions and reports and which we hope you will find interesting.

Scientific studies have proven how detrimental puppy farming is on breeding dogs and on puppies sold away from their mothers in pet shops. Below are links to some really valuable sources of information on these subjects.

TITLE: Behavioral and psychological outcomes for dogs sold as puppies through pet stores and/or born in commercial breeding establishments: current knowledge and putative causes.

REFERENCE: Franklin D. McMillan, DVM, DACVIM;

OBJECTIVE: To study the behavioral and psychological outcomes for dogs sold as puppies through pet stores and/or born in commercial breeding establishments: current knowledge and putative causes.

LINK: http://www.journalvetbehavior.com/article/S1558-7878(17)30010-2/fulltext

RESULTS: RESULTS: Pet store–derived dogs received significantly less favorable scores than did breeder-obtained dogs on 12 of 14 of the behavioral variables measured; pet store dogs did not score more favorably than breeder dogs in any behavioral category. Compared with dogs obtained as puppies from non-commercial breeders, dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores had significantly greater aggression toward human family members, unfamiliar people, and other dogs; greater fear of other dogs and non-social stimuli; and greater separation-related problems and house soiling. Frank McMillan commented that the extent of the abnormalities in dogs sourced from large-scale breeders was a surprise. He said, “The problems span so many different types of behaviors, and the differences are rather extreme for some of the behaviours.”

The authors conclude that until the causes of the unfavourable differences detected in this group of dogs can be specifically identified and remedied, they cannot recommend that puppies be obtained from pet stores.

TITLE: Differences in behavioural characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from non-commercial breeders.

REFERENCE: Franklin D. McMillan, DVM, DACVIM;  James A. Serpell, PhD;  Deborah L. Duffy, PhD;  Elmabrok Masaoud, PhD;  Ian R. Dohoo, DVM, PhD

OBJECTIVE: To compare the owner-reported prevalence of behavioral characteristics in dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores with that of dogs obtained as puppies from non-commercial breeders.

LINK: http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.242.10.1359

RESULTS: Pet store–derived dogs received significantly less favorable scores than did breeder-obtained dogs on 12 of 14 of the behavioral variables measured; pet store dogs did not score more favorably than breeder dogs in any behavioral category. Compared with dogs obtained as puppies from non-commercial breeders, dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores had significantly greater aggression toward human family members, unfamiliar people, and other dogs; greater fear of other dogs and non-social stimuli; and greater separation-related problems and house soiling. Frank McMillan commented that the extent of the abnormalities in dogs sourced from large-scale breeders was a surprise. He said, “The problems span so many different types of behaviors, and the differences are rather extreme for some of the behaviours.”

The authors conclude that until the causes of the unfavourable differences detected in this group of dogs can be specifically identified and remedied, they cannot recommend that puppies be obtained from pet stores.

TITLE: Mental health of dogs formerly used as ‘breeding stock’ in commercial breeding establishments.

REFERENCE: Franklin D. McMillan, Deborah L. Duffy, James A. Serpell

OBJECTIVE: Numerous anecdotal reports have suggested that after removal from CBEs many of the former breeding dogs display persistent behavioural and psychological abnormalities when compared with the general pet dog population. The purpose of this study was to determine if this anecdotal evidence could be confirmed empirically.

LINK: http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591(11)00300-5/abstract

RESULTS: When compared with a convenience sample of pet dogs matched for breed, sex, age and neuter status, former CBE breeding dogs were reported as showing significantly higher rates of health problems (23.5% versus 16.6%, P = 0.026). With respect to behaviour, CBE dogs displayed significantly higher rates of fear (both social and nonsocial; ordinal GLM models, P < 0.001), house-soiling (P < 0.001), and compulsive staring (P < 0.005); and significantly lower rates of aggression (toward strangers and other dogs; P < 0.0001), trainability (P < 0.0001), chasing small animals (P < 0.0001), excitability (P < 0.0001), and energy (P < 0.0001).

By demonstrating that dogs maintained in these environments develop extreme and persistent fears and phobias, possible learning deficits as evidenced by lower trainability, and often show difficulty in coping successfully with normal existence, this study provides the first quantitative evidence that the conditions prevailing in CBEs are injurious to the mental health and welfare of dogs.

TITLE: Association between prospective owner viewing of the parents of a puppy and later referral for behavioural problems.

REFERENCE: C. Westgarth, BSc(Hons) PhD1, K. Reevell, BSc(Hons) MSc(CABC) KCAI CCAB1 and R. Barclay, BSc(Hons) MPhil CCAB2

OBJECTIVE: A case-control study was designed to test whether there is an association between the owners seeing the mother of a puppy, and later development of behavioural problems.

LINK: http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/170/20/517

RESULTS: After adjustment for confounding factors using multivariable logistic regression, case dogs were more likely to be younger than controls (P < 0.001); less likely to be obtained at six (OR = 0.27, 95 per cent CI = 0.09 to 0.85, P = 0.03), nine (OR = 0.22, 95 per cent CI = 0.06 to 0.80, P = 0.02) or 10 weeks (OR = 0.35, 95 per cent CI = 0.12 to 1.01, P = 0.05), than eight weeks; more likely for the owner to have seen only one parent (OR = 2.49, 95 per cent CI = 1.15 to 5.37, P = 0.02) than both parents, and more likely to have not seen either parent (OR = 3.82, 95 per cent CI = 1.12 to 12.97, P = 0.03) than both. Advice to ‘see the mother’ has been shown to be partly scientifically accurate in relation to future unwanted behavioural problems among dogs; in fact, it may be better for prospective owners to be recommended to view both parents.

TITLE: The Domestic Dog – Its Evolution, Behaviour and Interactions with People

REFERENCE: James Serpell (contributors – James Serpell, Juliet Clutton-Brock, Raymond Coppinger, Richard Schneider, M. B. Willis, Benjamin L. Hart, J. A. Jagoe, Chris Thorne, John W. S. Bradshaw, Helen M. R. Nott, Randall Lockwood, Roger A. Mugford, Valerie O’Farrell, Lynette A. Hart, Robert Hubrecht, D. W. Macdonald, G. M. Carr, L. Boitani, F. Francisci, P. Ciucci, G. Andreoli)

OBJECTIVE: This unique book seeks to expose the real dog beneath the popular stereotypes. Its purpose is to provide a comprehensive, state-of-the-art account of the domestic dog’s natural history and behaviour based on scientific and scholarly evidence rather than hearsay.

LINK: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/life-sciences/animal-behaviour/domestic-dog-its-evolution-behaviour-and-interactions-people

RESULTS: ‘… is not just for dog lovers but also for the curious. With enough detailed studies to interest specialists, this book is readable and stimulating. It ranges from the psychology of pets and their owners to the fascinating history of dogs’ domestication and diversification as a species.’ New Scientist

TITLE: Puppy socialisation and the prevention of behavioural problems.

REFERENCE: Irish Veterinary Journal 2010 Vol. 63 No. 10 pp. 630-633

OBJECTIVE: Establishing the importance of socialisation in ensuring a puppy is friendly and well-adjusted.

LINK: http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/20103297484.html

RESULTS: The most common cause of fear and aggression is lack of socialisation and behavioural problems often originate from fearful dogs. Indeed, behavioural issues are the most common cause of euthanasia in dogs under two years of age.

TITLE: Relationship between aggressive and avoidance behaviour by dogs and their experience in the first six months of life.

REFERENCE: Appleby, D., Bradshaw, J. and Casey, R

OBJECTIVE: To test behavioural signs for association with the dog’s maternal environment, the environment it experienced between three and six months of age, and the age at which it has been acquired.

LINK: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11376544_Relationship_between_aggressive_and_avoidance_behaviour_by_dogs_and_their_experience_in_the_first_six_months_of_life

RESULTS: Non-domestic maternal environments, and a lack of experience of urban environments between three and six months of age, were both significantly associated with aggression towards unfamiliar people and avoidance behaviour. Aggression during a veterinary examination was more likely in dogs from non-domestic maternal environments.

TITLE: Human directed aggression in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris): Occurrence in different contexts and risk factors.

REFERENCE: Rachel A. Casey, Bethany Loftus, Christine Bolster, Gemma J. Richards, Emily J. Blackwell. School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

OBJECTIVE: The consequence for dogs of showing aggression towards people is often euthanasia or relinquishment. Aggression is also a sign of compromised welfare in dogs, and a public health issue for people. The aims of this study were to estimate the numbers of dogs showing aggression to people in three contexts (unfamiliar people on entering, or outside the house, and family members); identify whether these co-occur, and investigate risk factors for aggression in each context using multivariable analyses.

LINK: http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591(13)00292-X/abstract

RESULTS: These data suggest that although general characteristics of dogs and owners may be a factor at population level, it would be inappropriate to make assumptions about an individual animal’s risk of aggression to people based on characteristics such as breed.

TITLE: Prevalence of owner-reported behaviours in dogs separated from the litter at two different ages.

REFERENCE: Pierantoni L1, Albertini M, Pirrone F.

OBJECTIVE: The present study examined the prevalence of behaviours in dogs separated from the litter for adoption at different ages.

LINK: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21865608

RESULTS: These findings indicate that, compared with dogs that remained with their social group for 60 days, dogs that had been separated from the litter earlier were more likely to exhibit potentially problematic behaviours, especially if they came from a pet shop.

TITLE: Owner-Reported Aggressive Behavior Towards Familiar People May Be A More Prominent Occurrence in Pet Shop Traded Dogs.

REFERENCE: Federica Pirrone, Ludovica Pierantoni, Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino, Mariangela Albertini

OBJECTIVE: There is longstanding recognition of the adverse effect of stressful experiences during early critical developmental periods and the later association with problematic behavioral issues in dogs. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the origin/source of puppies (pet shop vs. breeder) was associated with later potential problematic behaviors.

LINK: http://www.journalvetbehavior.com/article/S1558-7878(15)00197-5/abstract

RESULTS: The odds of displaying owner-directed aggression were significantly greater for the dogs that had been purchased from a pet store as puppies than those purchased from a breeder (control group). We also found an association between a dog’s pet store origin and other potential problem behaviors, including house soiling, body licking, and separation-related behavior, but this relationship was confounded by the effect of a set of owner-related factors. These findings indicate that obtaining puppies from pet stores may predispose them to potentially exhibit owner-directed aggression as adults. We suggest that further research in prevention of problem behaviors in adult dogs should be aimed at identifying the root causes of pet store-related behavioral issues, without ignoring confounding at a household level.

WORD VERSION: Supportive Evidence – Science Papers

PDF VERSION: Supportive Evidence – Science Papers

WHEN A DOG ISN’T FOR LIFE

Posted: March 28, 2017 in Diary

It’s hard to believe that it was way back in 1978 when “A dog is for life. Not just for Christmas” was born. Clarissa Baldwin OBE came up with the most famous slogan in the dog world for The National Canine Defence League (NCDL). In fact, this catchy slogan was so famous it was even entered into the Oxford English Dictionary of Quotations.

In October 2003, the NCDL changed its name to Dogs Trust and Ms Baldwin stated that reasons for the name change included: “… Defence has negative connotations, and league is just desperately old-fashioned.”

Of course, predicting the future is always a gamble but as the Dogs Trust’s then Chief Executive, Ms Baldwin said: “Change is always a difficult thing to manage but sometimes you have to do what you believe to be right and not what is easy.” How very true.

When the charity became Dogs Trust it stated that its mission was: “working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.” Certainly, nobody can argue that this is every dog lover’s ideal world scenario.

Fast forward to 2017 and Dogs Trust is now the largest dog welfare charity in the UK. The slogan remains in place 39 years on. But, despite its simple genius, it’s incredibly sad that today even Dogs Trust admit that it has failed to achieve its intended goal.

Today, the real world for dogs has changed unrecognisably.  Although we would all ideally like to see a time when the public can buy healthy happy puppies from healthy happy parents, the possibility of this happening is now further away from becoming a reality than at any time in history. Ironically, in part, due to the charity’s own recent actions.

There are thousands of dogs in the UK who will never “enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction” because of an industry that some of us call puppy farming. If “A dog is for life” was intended for the public moral conscience, then now it should surely extend to the life expectancy of dogs as well.

For breeding dogs in puppy farms, life limiting health conditions are the norm. Should they remain in puppy farms until they can no longer breed they can look forward to being ‘disposed of’ at the whim of their keeper. Some are relinquished to smaller rescues that are prepared to take the time and raise the money for their rehabilitation and are then adopted by kind and compassionate members of the public who understand their special needs. But for the majority, they are the ‘disappeared’. I’ve even seen a licensing inspection report that states the method of retirement for the establishment’s ex breeding dogs is ‘incinerator’.

For these legally exploited dogs no amount of licensing and regulation has or will ever help. They are nameless, unaccounted for victims of a greedy industry where corruption is rife.

The pictures with this blog are all that physically remains of five magnificent dogs who crossed the bridge too soon over the last seven years. Boomer, Cariad, Amy, Gwennie-bear and sadly Flora, passing so unexpectedly just a few weeks ago: Mast cell tumours, lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, alveolar carcinoma – just some of the evil diseases that claimed all my sweet, gentle friends – the youngest being just six years old. Like so many others, Flora’s life of freedom outside the licensed puppy farm that sold her puppies to licensed pet shops, lasted less than 3 years. So unfortunately, ‘A dog is for life’ is inconsequential to ex puppy farming breeding dogs who have been rescued, as well as the hundreds of thousands of nameless dogs who have died over the years in these establishments without ever knowing human kindness, let alone love.

Doggie montage (2)

Only when you’ve shared the pain and suffering of these exhausted and broken dogs can you truly understand the horrors that puppy farming inflicts on man’s best friend. You try to make up for the shameful neglect and abuse they are forced to endure so that the supply of puppies can meet public demand. But when they leave you – always too soon – you can’t help but feel cheated that what should have been the best years of their lives were stolen from them.

It’s hard to comprehend why ‘meeting public demand for puppies’ should ever be more important, more valuable and more passionately fought for, than the lives of the breeding dogs themselves. And yet for some it is.

A recent comment by Dogs Trust in The Independent stated: “The simple fact is that there are too few puppies to meet demand in the UK and as long as the supply of puppies from responsible breeders falls woefully short of meeting the demand, unscrupulous breeders will breed dogs for profit …”

There are a great many problems with this statement, but here are just three: 1) It isn’t a ‘simple fact’, 2) it appears that the supply of puppies to meet demand is the priority here and not the welfare of the breeding dogs producing them. And 3) if Dogs Trust ever want the supply of puppies to come from responsible breeders rather than being ‘woefully short of meeting the demand’, this will only happen if responsible breeders don’t have to compete with low welfare, high volume breeders continually churning out cheap puppies from dogs used as breeding machines.

The charity has also argued that a shortage of puppies could lead to pups becoming more expensive. But surely a good quality, healthy puppy should be something to strive for and if that means puppies become more expensive, that would be no bad thing. The fact that puppies can be bought so cheaply and in such high volumes, sold in a way that relegates them to being nothing more than goods and commodities, is exactly why so many people don’t value them as lifelong companions and sentient beings. In fact you could argue that to make ‘A dog for life’ a reality, this would be one of the most significant solutions to the problem.

Something else that has escaped the public’s attention is that because the gene pool of puppy farm breeding dogs is so poor, the puppies they give birth to are predisposed to being poor quality themselves and are unlikely to live to what is considered the average life expectancy of a dog – regardless of breed or cross breed. So again, the chance of the puppy buying public being able to even have a dog for life is diminished. And that’s just the physical health toll. The behavioural issues of puppies originating in puppy farms is a blog all in itself.

my girls

Failure to address the problem of poor welfare breeding and selling of puppies is like saying to the public, “you don’t deserve to have a healthy puppy or a long-lived healthy canine companion”. And as excellent as the charity’s Dog School concept is “to help thousands of dogs overcome training and behaviour problems”, it is like applying a band-aid to an arterial bleed.

The RSPCA, IFAW, the Mayhew and every other welfare charity – with the exception of Dogs Trust, The Blue Cross and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – wholeheartedly agrees with the recent EFRA Committee’s strong recommendation for a ban. They understand that the puppy farming problem will continue to get worse while the third party selling channel, i.e. pet shops and dealers, continues to enable it. And as long as it does, whether bought at Christmas or any other time of year, a dog is unlikely to be for life.

It is regrettable that Dogs Trust have put the proposed ban on puppies being sold in pet shops in their ‘too hard’ file. Perhaps now would be a good time for their current CEO to revisit the wise words of his predecessor and remember that “sometimes you have to do what you believe to be right and not what is easy”.  After all, it was during Clarissa Baldwin’s reign that Dogs Trust itself campaigned for this very ban!

It’s sad to think back to 2003 when the NCDL changed its name because “Defence had negative connotations.” Never have the exploited dogs of this country needed Dogs Trust more than they do today – not only to defend them, but to fight for them and instead of vehemently opposing a ban on the selling of puppies away from their mothers in pet shops, to do the right thing for all dogs by admitting they got it wrong.

Linda Goodman

Founder – C.A.R.I.A.D. (Care And Respect Includes All Dogs)

Following the announcement that Neil Parish MP, Chairman of the EFRA Committee has secured a Commons Main Chamber debate this Thursday 30th March, 2017 at 11.30am, we are urging rescues – those who work day and night to save, rehabilitate and rehome the victims of the cruel puppy farm trade – to tell the Government their side of the story.

In order to reach them in time before the debate, emailing them is the preferred route.

These are the Defra Ministers responsible for animal welfare in the UK who need convincing that the third party selling of puppies i.e. in pet shops and by dealers is what enables puppy farming to flourish, and must be banned.

Andrea Leadsom – andrea.leadsom.mp@parliament.uk

Lord Gardiner – contactholmember@parliament.uk

In your email, please cc in the members of the EFRA Committee who undertook the inquiry into animal welfare and made such a strong recommendation to the Government to ban puppies in pet shops. They visited a puppy farm in Wales that sells puppies via pet shops and needed no further convincing that the trade must be banned.

Neil Parish – neil.parish.mp@parliament.uk
Chris Davies – chris.davies.mp@parliament.uk
Simon Hart – simon.hart.mp@parliament.uk
Dr Paul Monaghan – paul.monaghan.mp@parliament.uk
Ms Margaret Ritchie – margaret.ritchie.mp@parliament.uk
David Simpson – simpsond@parliament.uk
Angela Smith – officeofangelasmithmp@parliament.uk

Because we understand the pressures on your time, we have provided a template letter for your convenience. You can use this to base your email on and we suggest adding your own personal message to it.

As someone who understands the problem so well, please also write to your own MP urging them to attend Thursday’s debate and supporting the EFRA recommendation. You’ll find your MP’s contact details at the Find Your MP link, alternatively you can write to your MP via the automated Write To Them website.

RESCUE TEMPLATE LETTER (PLEASE COPY AND PASTE AND ADD YOUR OWN PERSONAL MESSAGE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES):

Dear

As a rescue that often takes in ex puppy farming breeding dogs, we see first hand how poorly so many of these dogs have been treated – whether they have come from licensed or unlicensed establishments – you would be hard-pressed to spot any difference.

Too often the condition that these dogs arrive in are heartbreaking. They require a great deal of time and patience because they are psychologically shut down and afraid. They also require costly veterinary treatment to either make them more comfortable or to alleviate health conditions that have been left untreated during their time as breeding dogs. We then need to find foster homes to take them in until they are well enough to be adopted by caring members of the public who understand their special needs.

Puppy farming is being enabled by the ability for these establishments to sell poorly bred puppies to the public via puppy dealers and pet shops. If puppy farmers had to sell directly to the public, they would never get away with housing breeding dogs in such terrible conditions.

The sale of puppies by licensed third parties including pet shops and by dealers in 2017 is unacceptable, as it has been scientifically proven to be detrimental to their physical and behavioural health – leading to long term problems for owners.  The third party trade is also the primary reason for the existence of cruel puppy farms – where dogs are produced as a cash crop with no thought for their wellbeing; again this link is indisputable. Retailing puppies through licensed pet shops reduces our most valued canine companions merely to the status of commodities, encourages irresponsible impulse purchasing and is impossible to regulate to an appropriate standard. This leaves animals and consumers vulnerable to unscrupulous sellers and simply cannot be justified on any grounds.

Equally, because these dogs are so often genetically challenged, they are producing high volumes of puppies that will inherit poor health and behaviour issues that will predispose those puppies to being surrendered to rescues or dumped in council pounds by members of the public who are unable or unwilling to keep them for life. It has become a viscious circle and one that is left to small, cash-poor rescues like ours to have to pick up the pieces.

I urge DEFRA to reconsider its previous decision to dismiss the calls from the EFRA Committee to ban the selling of dogs by third parties. We understand that a clause allowing rescues to continue adopting dogs and puppies to the public will overcome any obstacles for our rescue work and is very easy to write into the new legislation.

The situation is dire for the dogs and for rescues who are working so hard to help so many dogs today. It is a situation that only you have the power to change right now.

Yours sincerely,

Dear Sally de La Bedoyere,

When the EFRA Committee recommended banning the third party sale of dogs (legally licensed as pet shops, irrespective of premises) it was a hugely progressive step towards improving the welfare of potentially millions of dogs in the UK. Having considered all the evidence before them, the Committee recognised that the “process of selling through a third party seller has an unavoidable negative impact upon the welfare of puppies” and decided that it is “important that animal welfare standards are ensured across all breeders.”

You appear to be in agreement with the Committee, stating in the case study that supports your own investigation that “a pet shop environment is not a suitable one for pet dogs to spend their early weeks of life.” You also explain that “Pet shop pups often come from puppy farms” because “good breeders will not allow their puppies to be sold in pet shops”. Your advice to potential purchasers is “please don’t buy puppies from pet shops” and you warn them that “you risk buying a poorly bred and poorly socialised puppy who will struggle to cope with life.”

It is therefore not only sad, but deeply confusing as to why, despite your view that “We certainly at Blue Cross believe that puppies should not be sold in pet shops and we would advocate for a ban,” you have not advocated for a ban in your recommendations.

Disturbingly, it has become apparent that although your website tells ‘Scampi’s Story;’ describing the extensive rehabilitation of a “terrified former pet shop pup,” you have actually advised the Government against banning third party sales. This has come as something of a shock to pet owners in the UK, many of whom are your loyal supporters.

In a written question, Justin Tomlinson MP asked DEFRA “what the evidential basis was for the conclusion that a ban on third party sales of puppies would lead to the creation of an illegal market.” In response George Eustice, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stated that “Evidence was also presented to the recent EFRA Committee inquiry by Blue Cross, and The Dogs Trust on the annual demand for puppies and the risks of applying such a ban.”

However, your evidence appears to be somewhat contradictory:

You claim that there may not be “enough ‘good’ breeders to meet the very high demand for puppies in the UK“. This directly conflicts with your comment in March 2016; “In the last five years, Blue Cross has seen a 44 per cent increase in the number of unwanted and abandoned puppies needing our help.”

You have also claimed that a ban on third party sales “would be impossible to enforce with local authority resources already stretched to their limits” yet your report states that “Some local authorities are making serious efforts in addressing unlicensed sellers” and that this has resulted in enforcement action.

Your recommendation for a registration and licensing system “for anyone breeding or selling animals through any means” implies you believe it is possible for overstretched local authorities to identify and enforce the requirements for registration/licensing across all pet sellers, but claim that a ban would “force third party selling underground.”

Justin Tomlinson asked “what the evidential basis was” and George Eustice told him “evidence was presented” – but the problem is that your evidence doesn’t seem to be consistent.

We have some questions to help us and the British public better understand Blue Cross’ position on third party sales of dogs and puppies and particularly, what evidence you have to prove that continuing to allow the commercial third-party sale of puppies away from their place of birth can ensure their welfare and that of their parents.

If Blue Cross “would like to see a total ban on pet shops selling puppies and kittens” and “would advocate for a ban,” why has this not been included in the recommendations?

Does Blue Cross believe that breeding dogs will be healthy and well cared for if the breeders allow their puppies to be sold in pet shops?

Why does Blue Cross feel it is necessary or desirable for “the very high demand for puppies” to be met, when it has seen a 44 per cent increase in the number of unwanted and abandoned puppies?

Will Blue Cross advise potential owners that licensed and inspected pet shops are appropriate sources from which to obtain a responsibly bred puppy?

In response to BBC Panorama’s 2016 documentary Britain’s Puppy Dealers Exposed, Blue Cross points out that this ‘nightmare trade’ is totally legal and asks “If you knew the mother of your puppy had been forced to bear several litters over several years, had likely never seen a vet, and the documents claiming she was healthy were probably falsified, would you put your money into this supply chain?” You say “No reasonable person would.”

Does Blue Cross believe that a system of licensing and inspections that has allowed this “vicious and inhuman trade” to remain “totally legal” is a more pragmatic solution than “a ban on this type of selling”?

In fact, rather than providing answers or assurances that your evidence invariably supports your conclusions, your alternating views on banning third party sales only serve to confuse and generate more questions.

We have put all our questions in these review documents.

Yours sincerely,

Julia Carr BSc (Hons), Founder Canine Action UK

https://cariadcampaign.blog/questions-for-blue-cross/

Dear Adrian Burder,

When the EFRA Committee recommended banning the third party sale of dogs (legally licensed as pet shops, irrespective of premises) it was a hugely progressive step towards improving the welfare of potentially millions of dogs in the UK. Having considered all the evidence before them, the Committee recognised that the “process of selling through a third party seller has an unavoidable negative impact upon the welfare of puppies” and decided that it is “important that animal welfare standards are ensured across all breeders.”

Interestingly the concept of a ban on the sale of puppies in pet shops is not a new one. And whilst you have referred to it as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, it was in fact Dogs Trust that called for a ban in 2009 – highlighting the link between the battery farming of puppies and their sale through retail outlets.

It is therefore not only sad, but deeply confusing as to why you no longer campaign for a ban, but even more concerning is that now you believe preventing the sale of puppies through pet shops is not in the best interests of animal welfare and is a “knee-jerk response to the huge numbers of illegally imported and so-called puppy farmed dogs for sale in the UK”.

Disturbingly it has become apparent that based on this belief, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has actually advised the Government against banning third party sales. This has come as something of a shock to dog lovers in the UK, many of whom are your loyal supporters.

In a written question, Justin Tomlinson MP asked DEFRA “what the evidential basis was for the conclusion that a ban on third party sales of puppies would lead to the creation of an illegal market.” In response George Eustice, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stated that “Evidence was also presented to the recent EFRA Committee inquiry by Blue Cross, and The Dogs Trust on the annual demand for puppies and the risks of applying such a ban.”

In recently issued statements that aim to justify your position, you have used words such as ‘believe‘ and ‘fear’. Dogs Trust’s concerns about a ban appear to be based on assumptions about what ‘may‘ happen or what the consequences ‘could mean‘.

Justin Tomlinson asked “what the evidential basis was” and George Eustice told him “evidence was presented” – but the problem is that belief, fear and assumptions do not constitute evidence.

We have some questions to help us and the British public better understand Dogs Trust’s position on third party sales of dogs and puppies and particularly, what evidence you have to prove it is in the best interests of animal welfare to continue to allow the commercial third-party sale of puppies away from their place of birth.

Does Dogs Trust have evidence that pet shops can be suitable places for the sale of puppies?

Why does Dogs Trust believe it is possible to increase enforcement of a robust regime of licensing and inspection but not a ban on commercial third party puppy sales?

Your aversion to a ban appears to be primarily based on a view that it is necessary to satisfy the demand for puppies. “The simple fact is that there are too few puppies to meet demand in the UK.”

How can Dogs Trust claim there are too few puppies to meet demand when it has revealed that 37,000 dogs remain unclaimed in Council pounds and a “massive 54% increase in dogs handed over” to its rehoming centres over the Christmas period, of which over a third were puppies?

Does Dogs Trust have any suggestions for increasing the number of ‘responsible breeders’ or reducing demand?

Does Dogs Trust believe some purchasers will have no option but to buy a puppy from licensed third party sellers because there are not enough ‘responsible breeders’?

You advocate “a robust regime of licensing and inspection for breeders backed with increased enforcement of the law“.

Does Dogs Trust have evidence to show that the welfare of the dogs involved in the commercial puppy trade can be ensured if sold AWAY from their place of birth?

Can Dogs Trust provide specific examples where inspection and regulation has successfully improved the lives of dogs in commercial dog breeding establishments that supply puppies to third parties such as pet shops?

Does Dogs Trust still consider that seeing a puppy interacting with its mother is critical in having a puppy that is well socialised as it moves through its life and how would Dogs Trust ensure ‘transparency’ in third party sales if purchasers never see the puppy’s mother or assess the condition of the breeding establishment?

In fact, rather than providing answers or assurances that you have reached your conclusions on the basis of solid evidence, your statements aiming to explain your view on banning third party sales merely raise more questions.

Does Dogs Trust believe that continuing to allow puppies to be sold by commercial third party traders will mean that puppies are bought for life, not just for Christmas?

We have put all our questions in these review documents.

Yours sincerely,

Julia Carr BSc (Hons), Founder Canine Action UK

Click here or on the images below to access the full review documents.

Report Images

We are pleased to announce Neil Parish MP, Chairman of the EFRA Committee has secured a Commons Main Chamber debate this Thursday 30th March, 2017 at 11.30am. There are two vital animal welfare issues being debated:

1: Banning the sale of puppies via third parties
2: Increasing the maximum custodial sentence for animal cruelty

We are now calling on the public to write to their own MP urging them to attend this vital debate. Many MPs stated during the Pup Aid petition debate in September 2014 that they had received a record number of constituent emails – let’s ensure the same thing happens for this debate.

We have placed below a template letter for you to use. You can obtain your MP contact details at the Find Your MP link, alternatively you can write to your MP via the automated Write To Them website.

TEMPLATE LETTER (PLEASE COPY AND PASTE):

Dear (insert MP name)

As my representative in Westminster, I urge you to attend the debate in the Commons Main Chamber this Thursday 30th March, 2017 at 11.30am. There are two vital animal welfare issues being debated:

1: Banning the sale of puppies via third parties
2: Increasing the maximum custodial sentence for animal cruelty

Both of these recommendations from the EFRA Committee were recently dismissed by DEFRA which I find deeply disturbing and wholly unsatisfactory. I am looking to you to not only represent my views on this, but to be a voice for animals that need us all to be their voice more than ever before.

Chairman of the EFRA Committee Neil Parish MP says “Our inquiry into animal welfare highlighted the scale of the puppy trade in the UK. The quality of life of the puppies vary considerably and I believe that banning the third party sale of dogs is essential to improving the condition of dogs sold in the UK. Since the publication of our report, many welfare organisations, such as the RSPCA, have changed their minds on third party sales and agree that there should be a ban. I will be urging the Government to look again at this issue.

During our inquiry, we found that incidences of inhumane treatment of animals are all too common. Sentencing powers under the Animal Welfare Act are some of the weakest within the international community. The Animal Welfare Act was a landmark piece of legislation in 2006, but it is now time for the Government to legislate to increase the maximum custodial sentence for animal cruelty. I believe that the maximum penalty should be increased to five years.”

I would also like to bring to your attention the links between the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and animal abuse. So, whether you consider yourself to be an animal lover or not, the issue of animal cruelty affects our society as a whole.

The sale of puppies by licensed third parties including pet shops and by dealers in 2017 is unacceptable, as it has been scientifically proven to be detrimental to their physical and behavioural health – leading to long term problems for owners.  The third party trade is also the primary reason for the existence of cruel puppy farms – where dogs are produced as a cash crop with no thought for their wellbeing; again this link is indisputable. Retailing puppies through licensed pet shops reduces our most valued canine companions merely to the status of commodities, encourages irresponsible impulse purchasing and is impossible to regulate to an appropriate standard. This leaves animals and consumers vulnerable to unscrupulous sellers and simply cannot be justified on any grounds.

I realise that this debate falls on the last day Parliament sits before recess, however I cannot stress enough how much your presence at this debate will be valued by me and fellow constituents who feel strongly about animal welfare. I hope that these issues are also of importance to you personally and to the party you represent.

I would be extremely grateful if you would confirm whether you will be attending and that you will be supporting the EFRA recommendations.

Yours sincerely,

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.

puppileaks-logo

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.