Welcome to my blog

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.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Clay Hall Puppies

This week my attention was drawn to Clay Hill Puppies, a dog breeder granted a licence by S Norfolk Council for 21 breeding bitches.  Why, because of the very odd and obscure names they are calling their designer puppies, Beafies, Ba Shar, Jackahuahua, Jackapoo, Springador, Norfolk Mountain Dog!!!  For goodness sake, what is the matter with breeders that they must make up silly names for cross breeds, breeds that do not in my opinion always make a good mix.  Is the thinking behind the weird names to attract the buying public into thinking they are purchasing something really special over and above the normal pedigree dog?  The price  asked for a fashionable cross breed puppy is usually at a premium and people appear willing to pay the asking price for reasons that I fail to understand.  Especially if the breeder has not even bothered to health screen under (KC and BVA screening schemes) the dogs they intend using for breeding prior to mating for known hereditary conditions of each of the pedigree dogs used.  There really is no excuse for failing to do this. 

Having looked at the forum on the web site of the above breeding kennels it is clear that some purchasers have experienced problems with their puppies.  Entropion and skin problems are both known conditions in the shar pei one of the breeds used when crossing with another of their pedigree breeds.  Have to question why they continue knowing that the purchaser is likely to experience problems with their puppy resulting  in an operation and vets fees.  

Purchasers should not be fooled into purchasing puppies with fancy names however cute the name may sound, unless they have checked the natural characteristics of both breeds and the hereditary conditions they  are prone too before purchase. 

I am not against cross breeds, in fact have owned one myself a cross golden retriever/labrador retriever, both gun dog breeds of reputable parentage. But when breeders intentionally choose to breed from two incompatable pedigree dogs, to produce puppies that they can place a designer label on for monetory gain, without health screening is in my opinion detrimental to animal welfare.

If you are thinking of buying a puppy, please do all the necessary research before leaving home.  If you have been unfortunate enough to have purchased a puppy with a hereditary condition or in other words in the eyes of consumer law a 'faulty puppy' you are covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, details of what action you can take for redress against the seller can be found by googling Consumer Direct.

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.

Beili Bedw - Retrospective Planning Application - Objections Please.

URGENT - your help is needed

Retrospective Planning Application, dated 8th March 2011.  Agriculture Shed to Dog Breeding at Beili Bedw Farm, Llanllwni, Pencader, Carmarthenshire, SA39 9DPOn the 28th January 2010, the Local Planning Authority confirmed that a shed could be erected.  The application stated that the shed was for agriculture use for sheep and agriculture machinery. This did not require the need for a specific grant of planning permission as the operation would be permitted development under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order  1995.
This resulted in the shed being erected, but within a short period of time it was bought to the attention of Puppy Alert that dogs were being kept within the shed and it was fitted out with tiled walls and floor for the purpose of dog breeding.  Planning enforcement were advised accordingly and a visit to the premises was made, the consequences of which the applicant was  advised to submit a planning application for change of use from agriculture to dog breeding.
Background: The premises were granted change of use of calf pens into dog kennels for up to 9 dogs in 1994.  This required the applicant to request written approval for any intensification of the business, this was never applied for.
From 1994 to date the dog breeding business has intensified to 140 dogs but in the latter few years to 180 (in recent months the dog breeding licence was renewed by Carmarthenshire County Council for 196 dogs), although allegedly the figure for dogs kept on the farm was far in excess of either of these numbers and is likely to be so in the future with or without a licence if this application is approved.

The premises are a working farm with 850 breeding sheep and 200 followers, with 120 acres owned and 100 acres rented and more envisaged in the future. Plus of course the dogs, which incidentally do not appear to have any exercise areas attached to any of the units (livestock sheds) that are used for keeping the dogs 24/7.  The applicant is said to employ one full and one part time staff.  How can they possible ensure high animal welfare standards for the dogs when they have 196 dogs and 1,000 sheep and land to care for too?.

Puppy Alert will object to this application and is asking that others if they feel  concerned too to do likewise. The plans can be viewed here.  The planning application number is W/24449
Please send your objections for the attention of the Planning Development Officer, Stuart Willis
email: planningconsultations@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

Planning can only take into account objections on planning issues, such as highways, noise, hazardous waste etc.  However the volume of objections to a planning application can be important too, including personal opinions. Please look at the application, read the planning agents report, the latter comments are just his written opinion as to the reasons that change of use from agriculture to dog breeding should be given planning permission.  If you do not agree with the agent that dog breeding is an agriculture pursuit then write an objection and say why you are against this application and feel it should not go ahead. 

Remember the premises are now licensed for 196 dogs Carmarthenshire County Council appears to be indifferent to animal welfare, public opinion and those of Puppy Alert that to accommodate 196 dogs (with the possibility of more) on a farm premises that has the responsibility for a thousand sheep and few staff is totally irresponsible.  Dogs are companion animals requiring human company, socialization and exercise, not isolation and deprivation.  They are not livestock and should not be treated as such, their needs are entirely different. To accommodate so many dogs in one area places a higher risk of disease spreading.  The mass production of irresponsibly bred puppies from non health screened parents should never be condoned – neither should the fact that these mass produced puppies are destined for sale by dealers and pet shops. Stop puppy farming, battery farming and the indiscriminate commercial breeding of dogs by writing and objecting to this application.  You have a choice the dogs and puppies do not.

Thank you

Monday, 20 June 2011

Cefn Cloch (Ace Kennels) asks for permission to continue breeding dogs.

Hefin Davies the owner of a large, licensed, commercial dog breeding kennel in Meidrim, Carmathanshire, Wales, is asking Carmarthenshire County Council Planning Department to allow him to continue with his dog breeding activities.  He has submitted a retrospective planning application and requested to be granted a 'certificate of lawfulness' for an existing use of outbuildings and yards as dog breeding kennels.  The dogs are kept  in a steel and timber framed kennel building and yard and the dog breeding business is enclosed by a ring fence of buildings with dogs having a free run in the centre.

In March 2010 the premises were granted planning permission to convert a barn at the farm into an office and dog showroom.  Did a planning officer not consider it appropriate at the time of receipt of the application for the dog showroom and office or when inspecting of the premises consider checking the history of the premises to verify if planning permission was ever granted or requested for all the buildings used for dog breeding on the farm? 

Surely the owner of the premises, himself once a dairy farmer, now switched to dog breeding (they call it diversification) must we aware that since the premises were licensed in 1998 for just 8 dogs that if the numbers of dogs are increased, at some stage over the years, (when a dog breeding sideline becomes a commercial business) that planning permission is required. Did he make enquires with the planning department?  Was change of use from agriculture to dog breeding not a consideration, if buildings now used for dog breeding were previously used to house dairy cattle on this once active dairy farm?

What role has Carmarthenshire Public Protection Department played in this fiasco?  They are responsible for licensing the premises and in 1998 they licensed the premises for just 8 dogs!  What has happened since 1998?  Did the owners notify the Council that they wished to change the conditions of their licence due to  increasing the numbers of dogs on the premises every year to today's figure of 142 dogs?  Did the licensing officer whilst carrying out their yearly inspections questioned the large number of dogs on the premises over and above 8 dogs listed in 1998?  Many questions that remain unanswered but here is record of the licence figures.

2003 -  78 breeding bitches   1 dog    9 stud dogs
2004 -  58 breeding bitches   4 dogs 11 stud dogs
2005 -  98 breeding bitches   5 dogs   9 stud dogs
2006 -  88 breeding bitches   6 dogs 12 stud dogs
2007 -  81 breeding bitches 10 dogs 16 stud dogs
2008 -  89 breeding bitches 14 dogs   3 stud dogs
2009 -  95 breeding bitches   9 dogs 16 stud dogs
2010 -113 breeding bitches   4 dogs   4 stud dogs
2011 -  95 breeding bitches 33 dogs 14 stud dogs   - Are these figures correct?  Why have 33 dogs appeared, they are not listed as stud dogs but just dogs, are they perhaps breeding bitches placed in the wrong column?

The questions that need answering are:

Why has planning permission not requested by the owners or asked to be applied for by the Council until now?

Where are the exercise runs for the dogs?  These should be attached to but separate from their sleeping quarters, it is not acceptable for Councils to licence premises on the assumption that dog breeders will allow free exercise to their dogs as appears to be the case here.  It is well known that many do not and dogs live their life in confinement.

Why doesn't Carmarthenshire County Council place a ceiling on the numbers of dogs they allow a dog breeder to own and breed from on each breeding establishment?

Does Carmarthenshire Council ascertain before and at each yearly inspection whether adequate staff are employed and suitably qualified in animal welfare?

Why does Carmarthenshire Council allow these large commercial dog breeding establishments to operate without ensuring that all dogs used for breeding are screened under the BVA, KC screening tests for hereditary conditions known in each pedigree breed? 

Not all of these questions are asked on the Council inspection reports but Councils can place extra conditions on a Dog Breeders Licence, providing it is expedient to the purpose of the Act.  Therefore they should encourage good practice and introduce extra conditions that are beneficial to animal welfare on each of the premises they licence.