Puppy Farmed

13 August 2019

Recently we visited a rescue centre in the U.K. looking for a new dog. We decided we wanted a springer or cocker spaniel and were delighted to find they actually had a puppy of only a few months. We were told that he had been kicked around and left in a field. He seemed adorable and we couldn’t think why anyone would simply dump an expensive puppy. They can sell for over a thousand pounds, a few hundred at least!

Later while walking him, we met a licensed breeder. She complained of how her business was undermined by puppy farms from Europe and how rescue centres receive a lot of puppy farmed dogs. The puppy farmers sell their dogs on runs from Europe. If the dogs don’t sell they are simply dumped.

We also met a policewomen on our walks who confirmed that they come in through the Dover docks by lorry and can even be found selling them there. Any dogs found that have not been compliant with EU regulations are taken for examination elsewhere in the country (perhaps in case of rabies) and eventually given to rescue centres.

Fortunately the government is finally making efforts to stop puppy farmers from selling in the U.K. The government is introducing Lucy’s Law, which bans the sale of puppies and kittens under 6 months by ‘third-party sellers’. Third party means pet shops and sellers rather than licenced breeders. The law comes into effect on 6 April 2020.

According to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) between 40 000 and 80 000 puppies are sold every year in the U.K. Anyone wishing to purchase a puppy after the introduction of the law will have to do so directly from a licenced breeder. Currently the ban only extends to England, with Wales in consideration. Ireland has already brought in its own similar measures and Scotland's are being drafted.

Some are against the proposals, claiming that puppy farmers will simply shoot dogs they can’t sell and that councils will not have the time or money to implement the law.

In further news the European Union is also introducing stricter rules that will ensure the registration of all European dog breeders from 2020.