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For years I have campaigned against puppy farming, dealers and pet shops, in fact any outlet that is involved in the breeding and selling of puppies by third parties. Why you may ask? Because it is a clandestine trade that lacks public awareness and Governments fail miserably to accept that puppy farming resulting in puppy trafficking is detrimental to animal welfare. Through my thoughts on my blog I will highlight some of the daily happenings from my perspective as a campaigner against the puppy trade.

Disclaimer: My name is Patricia from Puppy Alert, the opinions and views expressed on this blog are entirely my own.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Willow Farm Kennels

Recently an email arrived in my inbox asking my advice, a person had purchased a puppy that had died within eight days of purchase from Willow Farm Kennels, Lincs who are in possession of a pet shop licence  allowing them to buy in and resell puppies. The email advised that the puppy according to the vet report when first seen, was small for its supposed age of 10 weeks and the vet thought more likely to be 6/7 weeks of age.  The puppy was suffering from a respiratory cough, bloody stools and was prescribed medication.   Three days later the owner felt concern for the puppy who displayed difficulty eating and breathing, become listless and weak.  The puppy was rushed to the emergency vets, placed on emergency therapy of fluids and anti-biotics overnight with syringe feeding.  According to the owner the vets report stated that,  'the puppy was anaemic, pyrexic and making abnormal resporatory sounds.  Overnight the puppy deteriated became jaundiced and died the following morning. The owner declined a post mortum but bio-chemistry results and haematology performed on bloods taken confirmed severe anaemia, a bacterial infection and liver damage. The vets report stated we expect she was possibly suffering from leptospirosis, canine distemper virus (COV), canine infectious hepatitis or bacterial cholangiohepititis.  Given the clinical history of this puppy it is highly likely that she contacted this disease before comming into the **** household'.

Both the puppy purchaser and myself contacted N Kesteven Council advising them that a puppy was sold from Willow Farm Kennels suffering from a contagious disease, one of which was a zoonosis.  I was assured that contact would be made with the kennels. Eventually, two weeks after the Council were notified, they decided they would make a pre-arranged inspection visit to the kennels on the 9th June 2011, I emailed the visiting officer for an update but the email has not been replied to. I have now requested the last three years inspection reports and licensing conditions under FOI.

Common sense has not been forthcomming from the Council, a puppy was sold from these premises suffering from a contagious disease which has placed all other puppies on the premises at risk and possibly humans too.  Yet they failed to see any urgency in visiting the premises to check the records of where this puppy was bred, to contact the breeder of the puppy and  if licensed the Council covering the area the puppy was bred or any other purchasers sold puppies from the premises.  When I requested to know of the Council area the puppy was bred, I was verbally advised 'there are no records'.  What is going on?   Pet Shop Licence holders have to keep records under their licence conditions for this very reason - disease and the traceability of puppies bought into the premises and sold if they later suffer from a contagious disease.  What action are the Council going to take if any?   Watch this space for further updates.

Willow Farm Kennels have sold a sick puppy that was under age,  not vaccinated, the purchaser was I am advised just given paperwork to say the puppy was vaccinated and wormed but there was no proof that could be verified, such as a vet signature or sticker from the vaccine phial. The puppies purchase price was £525 which Willow Farm Kennels has now refunded but there are extra expenses outstanding.

Pet shops have a responsibilty to ensure that puppies when sold are healthy but this was certainly not the case in this instant. That is why it is inadvisable to purchase puppies from a third party, puppies are very vulnerable, succumb easily to disease sometimes from their breeding premises, during transportation or from other puppies whilst waiting to be sold.

 Purchasers of puppies when sold as part of a business are covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and can ask for reimbursement. But that still does not take away the trauma and heartache of having a puppy die within a few days of purchase.


  1. Patricia, I would strongly encourage you to visit Willow Farm Kennels. It is a very well kept place with well socialised pups and all of them were about 12 weeks old. We had a West Highland Terrier and he is a real sweety, so good natured. What I was really impressed with was the pedigree but no Kennel Club registration, as the owners did not want dogs just bred for show purposes. The pups were is great living conditions. Very impressive. Please take the time to visit them and their breeders. It is a millon miles away from the photos posted. I live in Oxford and am aware of the importance of protests to protect animal rights and have myself been involved actively in other types of protest, but this one is mis-aimed. Sue

  2. Litters aren't registered with the KC purely for showing. A true, verifiable pedigree cannot be provided without KC registration. Any 'pedigree' provided by this place isnt worth the paper it is written on. This is a line spun by many irresponsible breeders. If this place is reputable, i assume you were provided with DNA health test certificates for both Dam and Sire, and met the mother of the litter? Irresponsible, disgusting and rotten to the core.

  3. Suejem, you've been duped. Of course Willow Farm is clean and well kept... it's in their interests to present an acceptable environment to the buyer. It's where the puppies come from that won't have been well kept or clean - this is likely to be a Welsh puppy farm where the dogs are kept in filth and bred over and over again, often to other dogs in their canine family, until the bitch is too old and/or sick to breed any more. Then she will be thrown out or destroyed. The lucky ones make it to places like Many Tears Rescue. Have a look at the state they come into the rescue in, read their stories if you don't believe me.

    People like the Phillips at Willow Farm are what's known as "beards" - they present a respectable front for the puppy farms and backyard breeders. Think about it! What responsible breeder would sell a litter - without the mother even - to someone who they know has scores of other litters and is just out to sell the dogs for a profit. A week ago Willow Farm were advertising 16 different breeds of dog (in NEW adverts, so they had ALL 16 on the premises), plus an older puppy. NO RESPONSIBLE BREEDER SELLS PUPPIES TO A DEALER. NO RESPONSIBLE BREEDER WOULD ADVOCATE THE BREEDING, SALE OR POSSESSION OF MORE THAN ONE BREED, TWO AT THE VERY MOST AND ONLY THEN FOR AN EXPERT WITH MANY YEARS EXPERIENCE BEHIND THEM.

    And the reason why Willow Farm don't offer KC reg pups? It's got SFA to do with the excuse Phillips gave. He's a liar. It's because breeders will be struck off the Kennel Club and not allowed to register ANY of their dogs with them if they are caught selling KC reg dogs to a pet shop or dealer like Phillips. These days 90% of puppy farmers are within the Kennel Club and they wouldn't want to lose their ability to KC reg all of their pups so they insist that the ones they sell to dealers like Phillips go without papers.

    You might have protested and waved banners, Sue, but I've spent years picking up the pieces of puppy farmers' cruelty. I'm a rescuer, I know what a puppy farmer's frontman is when I see it and I tell you with my hand on my heart, John and Jenny Phillips at Willow Farm Kennels are frontmen for puppy farmers.

  4. OMG i couldnt believe it when i came across your blog. I purchased a cocker Spaniel puppy, on the 12th June 2013 and paid £550, prior to picking her up i first contacted the owner Jenny 2 weeks prior to ask if the puppies were still for sale she said they were and that they were 10 weeks old and ready to leave now. i asked if i could pick her up in a weeks time as i wanted to prepare my home and garden for her arrival. I went to collect her on june 12th and i was took into a very clean enclosed yard area. There were huge high gates to the farm beyond and i couldnt see what was behind them. i was took into a stable which was sectioned into 4 quaters, i was surprised to see a different number of breeds available, the kennel hand said this ones yours, scooped us up and ushered us out of the stable. i fell in love instantly. we were refused use of the toilet facilites. The transaction was fast and conveyer belt like, no proof of vaccines and not KC registered.she asked me no questions regarding my home or lifestyle. I took my puppy home and the next morning noticed she had discharge coming from her nose, i managed to get an appointment at the vets the following monday 17th june by this time she would be 12 weeks old. I was horrified my dear puppy was barley 8 weeks old and had respitaory problems, lung infection and colitis. She could not have her vaccinations and went straight onto anitbiotics and is being seen by my vets every 48 hours and is on another course of antibiotics. She a horrible cough that comes when she plays and gets excited. I have contacted the R.S.P.C.A and this kennels is known to them. I have contacted DEFRA, Consumer direct, Trading Standards and complained to the website who has suspended their account and forwarded their details to C.A.R.I.A.D. who else can i contact to put a stop to these sickening people.

  5. Oh my god Susan! Reading your post is so unbelievable, we bought our cocker spaniel on the 2nd June and we have had the exact same experience! If yours is golden she could be one of his sisters?! Everything seemed fine when we went to look at him, we probably made the mistake of falling in love at first sight and overlooked a few of the warning signs. Like them not asking anything about us etc.. But it seemed like such a respectable place! When we got our puppy home that same day we noticed he was coughing, so we took him to the vets for his injections (we were told he was ready for his second set, which wasn't true as we would have had proof) and was told to monitor his cough, it got no better after 2 days so we took him back for it to be diagnosed as 'kennel cough' something the vet says is very common when puppies a bought from 'puppy farms' this made us feel like such idiots! We thought the place was clean, tidy and the puppies appeared so well looked after and cared for!! He was put on antibiotics and we had to take him back again after another few days.. He seemed to be getting better, then he started with diarrhoea which had blood in it, so back to the vets we went, who sent off a sample to the lab.. The results showed he had campylobacter.. Which again, is quite common from 'puppy farms'! So now he's taking penicillin, whilst waiting for the results my daughter fell ill with a high fever and diarrhoea, which I presumed was a virus, but it lasted longer than 5 days. Once getting the results from the vet they told us they needed to treat him as soon as possible as campylobacter could be passed on to humans (like food poisoning) so not only have they put my puppy at risk, my entire family have been put at risk by these cowboys!! I sent an email to John, with no reply. After seeing all of the action you took I am going to follow suit and make sure we do all we can to ensure no one else has to go through this and hopefully more puppies will be safe from this kind of treatment. If you have any advice of what I can do please let me know.

    1. Hello Rachael, thank you for replying. i have also since been contacted by another lady whos westie puppy is very poorley with infectious parasites and is now kept in isolation, we are in contact most days on how we can put a stop to these cruel people. Please contact North Ksteven council which is willow farm kennels local council. The RSPCA at lincoln on 03001234999 and select the options for domestic animal and cruelty treated. We have contacted our local MP also Mark Simms.Trading Standards and also please google C.A.R.I.A.D and contact them. Also if you contact the website they were advertised on and report the advert with your story, so far i have disabled their adverts on Pets4homes and yesterday contacted FREEADS and counted over 8 breeds of puppies they were selling and told them my story. Try contacting 'watchdog' thats my next port of call. My cocker spaniel is a gold one, was yours also underage by over a month? My email address is jemsdesigns@hotmail.co.uk if you would like to contact me in private. i think we may have siblings :D. but please do not let this go....We are our puppies only voice and i will fight for her as i would my children.i hope Majik's brother makes a full recovery .x

  6. We purchased a Cavalier puppy on May 5th, and again, we felt everything seemed fine with the place. We took her to the Vet for a check-up, and injections, but after a couple of days she developed a cough, so we returned to our vets. who started treatment for kennel cough.
    Despite further treatment at our vets, she did not improve and she was referred to a bigger Veterinary Hospital, where she spent a full weekend undergoing various tests and treatment.
    She eventually developed pneumonia, and was shown to have a congenital problem, with a very narrow windpipe, which was adding to the problem. After being unable to ease her distress, we made the decision to have her put to sleep. By this time (too late) we had become aware of the reputation of Willow Farm, and contacted them, for a refund (under the Sale of Goods Act, as they informed us that actually bought in and re-sold the puppies) After furnishing them with the Vets. diagnosis, and details of the treatment, we were given a refund for our purchase fee.
    We have now learnt from our mistakes, and found a new healthy Cavapoo puppy from a good family breeder where we could see the parents, and where we could see ALL the paperwork.

  7. I bought a cavalier king Charles from here 3 years ago not knowing it was a puppy farm ( not understanding that people could be so cruel and run these things). I am happy to say I have been lucky and my baby is fine but am so sorry for buying from here. I am co hosting an event on 12th October to raise money for Halfway House Dog rescue centre who take in and rehome lots of neglected and abused dogs and there are enough of those around without adding more through puppy farms and am now aware that these places exist. In my opinion they should be renamed as breeding prisons as puppy farm sounds too "nice" and can be misleading. My heart goes out to all these dogs and we really need to act and get them all closed down x

  8. I like many other comments in here wish I had never purchased my beloved chocolate lab from these crooks.

    From the moment we got her home she had digestive problems which have persisted throughout her 1 year life. We are currently also under the understanding she has acute hip Dysplasia at only 1 years old.

    I'm baffled by the amount of bad experiences people have had and nothing is being done to shut them down.

  9. Patricia this sounds exactly like my story, I was emailing you whilst fighting my case with the Phillips and my email got hacked and lost your email address I don't know if you remember. Hope your well xx

  10. I work for an animal rescue the amount of times we hear or see this is unbelievable . Did anyone see the parents of the puppies they purchased by any chance x

  11. I bought a bichon frise, from there no proof of vaccinations, didn't see the parents, lots of puppies in pens, I was shocked as I thought it was a normal house, the puppy was ill after a couple of days, and took a lot to get her right, I phoned willows which was no help, they mentioned that if I'd bought a washing machine, from say argos, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on, same as buying a dog, disgusting, it needs closing down !

  12. Where is this Kennel located?


  13. I have just found this website, and feel blessed that our mini schnauzer came home to us healthy!!. We purchased him in 2012... I had no idea this place was a puppy farm, and feel sad that others have been heartbroken because their pups were ill. Like some of the other posts, we were ushered into a stable block, handed 'our'puppy and ushered out, no real questions asked... but I was hooked ... how could I put this gorgeous little fur baby back? 5 years on he is a fab, well rounded not who has brought us joy and frustration lol. I am now questioning his heritage as we are not sure he is 100% schnauzer... and as we wanted to have a litter of pups (we have a mini girl from a reputable breeder) we felt it may be prudent to see what his make-up is.... whatever... he is adorable, but I would like to know. I hope others who have purchased pups have had a good experience and a healthy puppy.

  14. I bought a golden retriever from this disgusting place and like other people on here was unaware it was a puppy farm. She is now 7 and has uncurable leukaemia and I would take bets on it been down to where these despicable people obtained her from. She has been a fantastic dog and she has had a fantastic life with me but that doesn't stop me being angry with these people.

  15. I saw the most perfect Yorkie pup on a website and asked the girl where she bought her from so I could get the same quality. She said it was from Willow Farms. In NC. Sadly to my surprise I’m finding all these horrible reviews! I will not be purchasing from here.☹️