Posted: September 25, 2017 in Diary

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.




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

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