The magazine your dog would want you to read
Editorial February-March 2008:
Puppy farming: bad business
I AM sorry to go on about puppy farming, especially to start a brand new year, but so much has been brought to my attention recently that I simply must put it in the front line again. It is a most disgusting business for anyone to choose as a way of making money, second only to dog fighting, which we all know is the realm where the lower socio-economic moron excels.
Puppy farming is the business chosen by failed lawyers, failed accountants, failed farmers, failed business operators, and in the larger picture, failed forms of humanity. It is chosen by them because there is no other business where they have no rules to comply with and no minimum health and hygiene conditions to apply to their “stock”.
Take a look at the actual business as a business that is commonly run by people who could not even make money in their chosen careers, are these people successful? Don’t make me laugh!
First, when people go into any business they usually know enough about that business to be able to supply their customers with a good product and in the case of dogs, a healthy, well-bred, happy product that has been with its mother for 10 weeks (if the breeder is really knowledgable) and has learned the basics of socialisation. This is what the customer pays for.
But the people running these farms usually know nothing about dogs and in most cases really don’t care. The parent dogs have no exercise, no decent food, no veterinary care, no games or caring social contact with their owners, and are bored out of their minds in cages all day, If they get sick, they die. The puppies are taken from their mothers at about four weeks old way too early and before they have learned the basics of canine behaviour!
So on the business front what have we got? A business that is run badly, that produces inferior, damaged, unfinished and emotionally scarred goods; a business that is run by someone incapable of running any business. And why is such a business allowed to continue? Have we no trade standards? Is there no minimum qualification for anyone in such a business? Are there no health and hygiene inspections by government and SPCA inspectors? The answer is a firm NO!
Why are such farmers allowed to keep, and use, vaccines on their properties that they are unqualified to use, and that may be old, contaminated or the wrong dose for any particular dog?
There are hundreds of questions such as these that point directly to councils. Who approves such property use in the first place? Who approves a business when they know the “management” is not qualified to run a snail farm? Who is it that knows exactly what they have approved, yet fails to inspect such farms and demand even the basic requirements of stock health and management? The councils of course! And they justify their inaction with excuses such as: “There are no rules so how can we ask such people to comply ... with what?”
But we can not even blame the councils for everything. The average councillor also knows nothing about dogs and is in many cases too thick-witted to take advice and guidance from those councillors who are better equipped to make such decisions.
Then we come to the buyers. Why do people still buy such puppies? I know many people just want to get the puppies away from such horrible conditions and can not resist a pair of large, pleading eyes. But this is not the way you would purchase anything else, so why apply it to puppies? Basically, you get what you deserve.
You MUST view the parents before buying a puppy, you must know where it came from, you must make inquiries about the breeder and view their property, you must see how the dogs are kept and where they run and play, you must see what they have been fed, you must view papers from the puppy’s first vaccinations and you must check with the vet who supposedly signed, to validate these papers. If you are given excuses, then leave there is no valid excuse!
Check that the puppies are with their mother. You may be shown another mother if the real one is in bad condition. The puppies will not run towards another dog. If there is anything at all that you do not like in the operation, just leave. Buy a puppy from one of these places and you will have bought yourself a veterinarian’s dream!
So what else can you do to save yourself from the heartache of a sickly puppy that may soon need to be euthanised? If you can not decide yourself whether to buy or not to buy, then do some simple checking. First, make sure that the vet who has signed any medical clearances for the puppy or its parents really exists and actually signed the papers in question. Puppy farmers have been known to falsify veterinary papers.
Get in touch with your nearest breed club and ask about the breeder and the breed. Take a photo of the parent and puppies if possible, and show it to club members. They will be able to advise if they think the owner is a puppy farmer. Any legitimate breeder is usually a member of a breed club and the kennel club.
Next, contact the kennel club. They will be able to advise whether the puppies are registered or not, and whether the breeder is a member. If your breeder is not a member of either club, then be suspicious that the puppies are not purebred and not necessarily of the breed being quoted. However, if the puppy is a crossbreed, then a check with the breed club and kennel club would be irrelevant. But there are still important checks you can make. If you have decided on a crossbreed, then why not contact the Dogs’ Trust or a rescue organisation or your local SPCA?
Often the puppy farmers will send their puppies to a housing estate for onselling. In this case everything stands don’t buy unless the puppy is 10 weeks old, looks healthy, has vaccination certificate that you can validate, and you can view at least the puppy's mother (the father as well if possible) and their living conditions.
There are groups who will help purchasers of puppies with information. You can check with them and ask questions about the owners of the puppy you are considering, and the property they run. These groups will let you know if you are potentially dealing with a puppy farmer. One such group is the Waterside Action Group (WAG) based in Scotland. It was launched when the local council knowingly approved a property for use as a puppy farm. Their website is: http://www.wag-ayrshire.org.uk/ I am sure that the Dogs Trust at: http://www.dogstrust.org.uk would also be able to assist with information, as would the SPCA in any local areas. The local veterinary clinic may also provide information as they are usually the ones who have to deal with the inevitable problems these puppies suffer.
Even if you buy from a breeder of a single breed, be careful that the breeder is reputable. I have heard breeders reportedly saying that they sell their puppies at four weeks old because they are harder to sell when they are a little older. Don’t be fooled by this. No reputable breeder will sell their puppies at under eight weeks, but 10 weeks is the ideal.
And after all that, what can you do to help eliminate the despicable practice of puppy farming? First, never buy from any questionable dealer. If it is too late for that advice, then make as large a noise as possible about the deal. First contact the breeder and ask for a refund. If that is refused, contact local papers and give them your story. Contact the SPCA and tell them where the puppy came from. Contact action groups in your area or nationally and give them all the details. Try to contact other people who have been fooled by the same breeder you may not be able to afford a court case yourself, but a combined case would cut the fees hugely and may put the farmer out of business.
And finally, even if you do not own a dog, if you know of any puppy farms in operation please contact your SPCA, Humane Society, and any other action groups. These people can not be allowed to continue. - Elezabeth