Barking Blondes: How much is that puppy in the window…?

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

3 in a box 2 300x216 Barking Blondes: How much is that puppy in the window...?Primrose Hill is one of London’s most beautiful dog-friendly parks. But how often do you consider the origins of the array of mutts enjoying the North London air?

Next Saturday on Primrose Hill we will be joined by many other animal lovers, as part of Puppy Farm Awareness. For most potential dog owners, the concept of a Puppy Farm conjures up images of dogs running across green fields, breathing fresh air, happy, healthy hounds.

Unfortunately, this is a misnomer. Nothing could be further from the truth! Puppy Farming represents the worst in human nature by mass producing puppies to fulfil the growing demand for dogs in our ‘must-have’ society. It’s accessed through the internet, newspaper adverts and unscrupulous pet shops as ‘outlets’.

Puppies are bred in the most despicable conditions where the ‘farmers’ keep costs to a minimum in order to maximise profits. It’s big business. Bitches are kept in dirty, crammed conditions without any creature comforts or even any daylight. These mothers can’t provide the best start in life for their pups, as they are so under-nourished and exhausted. Leaving their pups open to infection and disease.

The mothers are left distraught and traumatised as pups are taken from them prematurely. The farmers then eagerly await their next season to produce yet another litter. Hence, the animal becomes nothing but a conveyor belt for producing pups. When the breeding stock cannot yield anymore, theirs is a tragic and untimely death devoid of any happy memories or life experiences.

Leaving their mothers’ far too young. the pups find themselves being transported to puppy dealers around the country where they’ll be sold to well meaning owners mainly unaware of this cruel trade. Parting with a substantial amount of cash for one of these puppies is often the tip of an iceberg for imminent and substantial vets fees. Prone to infection these puppies often never survive, leaving owners heart-broken and feeling emotionally ‘robbed’.

The golden rule when buying a puppy is to spend time ensuring that your pup will come from a caring breeder not a mass-producing farmer. This may involve waiting for a puppy for several months. In our ‘must-have’ age where everything is bought with the click of a mouse over the internet, some find this frustrating.

Unlike groceries, a puppy should never be bought over the internet, a pet shop or a from a newspaper advert. Always ask to see the mother and if she is not there, alarm bells must start ringing. Don’t be fooled by impressive paperwork as more often than not this will be counterfeit.

Worryingly our own British puppy farming trade is being augmented by puppies from Eastern Europe benefiting from the pet passport scheme which uses fake passports and counterfeit vaccination history. Pushing customs and excise teams to their limits, van loads of puppies are being intercepted. Those that are not risk bringing rabies into the UK.

The solution is to only buy a puppy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. In contrast to a puppy farmed pup, you’ll know that this puppy will have had the best start in life, from a healthy mother, and will be in a good place to join your family. You’ll see the pup with its Mum, and be reassured that its papers will be genuine. That’s well worth waiting for!

The other option for those desperate for a dog is to visit your local rescue centre and adopt a homeless hound. With centres bursting at the seams nationwide, nothing could be more altruistic. In our self gratifying age, perhaps this should become mandatory? It might stop us unwittingly fuelling the ruthless puppy farming trade. Because as long as there’s a demand for ‘one-click’ puppies, there will be a supply.

Barking Blondes’ by Anna Webb & Jo Good, published by Hamlyn, £12.99

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  • Gizwiz

    They might not be ‘puppy farmers’ per se but they are still breeding for profit. Do they care who they sell the puppies to? I understand that dog fighters will pay handsomely for a good pit bull.

  • oldlongdog

    Hmm… Whilst I’d agree that puppy ‘farms’ are to be avoided I wouldn’t recommend buying a KC registered ‘pedigree’ dog as a way of ensuring your dog is healthy. ‘Pure bred’ is a euphemism for ‘inbred’ and many of these dogs have inherent health problems. If you want a healthy dog then get a cross breed. They are not only cheaper (although I know someone who paid £1k for a ‘cocker-poo’…!) they live much longer. The dog in my avatar pic was a Whippet/Bedlington cross and his brother lived till he was 15.5 yrs old and he lived to 17.5yrs.

    And never ever get a male puppy from a rescue centre as they castrate them too young. Male dogs need testosterone to develop their bones and muscles and should not be castrated before 18 months. In fact they should never be castrated unless they get testicular cancer. If you’re worried about unplanned breeding then at worst get them vasectomised but if you really can’t keep them in and can’t cope with them being ‘male’ then don’t get a dog.

  • Nomad101

    My mate who just had the Japanese Tosa pups wanted to keep all of them, his boss – the wife would only let him keep one, so he was extremely anal with the people he sold the puppies to, going so far as to check their addresses on google maps and interviewing them multiple times. As for the MSP’s daughter, she will sell to the highest bidder even if it’s Ted Bundy – hence why I got my pit from a dog shelter, I’m not in England so your D.D.A does not apply to me – and no he is not vicious he is terrified of sheep and my 1970’s electric fire place that is not even wired up, not to mention he does not grasp the idea of playing “fetch”.

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