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, 27 July 2011

Council Inspection reports - Dog breeders. What do they tell us?

Carmarthenshire yearly inspection reports make interesting reading.  Under FOI and data protection Councils now remove the names of the breeders and premises and the inspecting officer/s or vet if it is a new application. 

Well what do the inspection reports tell us?  It is possible to be made aware of how many dog breeders sell their puppies to dealers and pet shops, how many sell to both and how many sell privately.  Dog breeders were asked if a vet visits the premises.  How dog breeders remove waste created from running a dog breeding establishment. How many breeding bitches, stud dogs, other dogs and litters are seen on the day of inspection.  The basic conditions for the dogs offered by the dog breeder such as food, water supply, heating and cleanliness.  The type of construction of the units and numbers of units on the premises including isolation unit.  Fire extinguisher and main entrance notice and licence displayed.  Records of breeding bitches records of puppies and who sold. Identification of puppies if sold to dealer or pet shop. On the face of it reading the inspection reports the uninitiated may think, not too bad over all, boxes are ticked and on some the word good is written often.

But what are the facts behind the written word and what do they tell us?  Well, from the 84 dog breeders inspection reports from February 2010 until March 2011 it is clear that 35 dog breeders sell litters of puppies to dealers, 20 dog breeders sell to both dealers and private purchasers and only 25 sell only to private purchasers often using free ads and the Internet. So roughly three quarter of all breeders in Carmarthenshire are supplying dealers and pet shops with litters of puppies.

How many dogs live on licensed dog breeding establishments in Carmarthenshire?  At this count there were 2,418 breeding bitches, 476 stud dogs, 422 other dogs and 354 litters of puppies seen on the day of inspection.

It appeared that 41 dog breeders when asked could name a veterinary practice that they could use, it did not indicate they were registered with a local vet but some did say to check the puppies before sold and in some cases to vaccinate but only a few mentioned their breeding bitches or stud dogs.  What of the other 44 dog breeders are we to presume they just have not answered the question or the inspector failed to complete the form or in the worse scenario which is the most likely to use the services of a vet is highly unlikely.

With so many licensed dog breeders in one County (this does not count the unlicensed ones which is thought to equally as many again) owning and rearing so many litters of puppies, how do they dispose of the waste created by dog breeding?  From the information it appears they use varios methods, some are illegal due to the classification of some waste from dog breeding premises as hazardous.

Industrial/Trade Waste 4, Farm Waste, 16, Slurry Pit, 20, Farm Muck/Dung Heap 19 (one said ploughed into the land) Cess Pit 3, Septic Tank, Incinerator (some Defra Approved) 6, Burnt 5, Composted/recycled and some Inspectors left the question blank. 

 So who is advising the dog breeders of the correct methods to use and more to the point who is ensuring they do so before we have another environmental catastrophe.  Is the Environment Agency not active in ensuring this hazard does not reach the watercourses within Carmarthenshire?  Has Carmarthenshire Public Protection who are responsible for licensing dog breeders ever discussed this issue with the Environment Agency?  This is important as we wait the decision of Carmarthenshire Planning on the change of use from agriculture to dogs breeding on one licensed premises that has 196 dogs!  This dog breeders reply to the question of methods used for waste disposal was pit, taken to mean slurry pit?

I will continue with this later .......

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Councils Failings

Councils are responsible for licensing dog breeders, dealers and pet shops premises, yet many dog breeders operate commercially and licensed but do not have planning permission, whilst many others operate unlicensed and without planning permission.  This is particularly noticeable in Wales. 

When licences are granted some Councils fail to ensure that dog breeders, dealers and pet shops adhere to their licence conditions, even when matters of concern relating to animal welfare are drawn to their attention. Failure to use their power of enforcement and allowing dog breeders to continue to operate, leaves dogs and puppies to suffer in poor conditions.  Many Councils are lacking in controlling the numbers of dogs allowed for dog breeding on the premises, this results in many dogs living in inadequate conditions to rear and raise their puppies, which again causes suffering.  Premises are allowed to operate, often with just a husband and wife team, without Councils ensuring that extra staff are employed to care for the dogs as well as raising  litters of puppies which is often an impossible task when the number of dogs far exceed the numbers of hands available particularly at whelping time.

Some Councils even fail to ensure that dog breeders, dealers and pet shops comply with current legislation such Breeding and Sale of Dogs (welfare) Act 1999, Animal Welfare Act and the Pet Animals Act 1951 (amended 1991).

Dog Breeding Licences

Have read with interest the Blog by Safe Pets UK on the subject of dog breeding licences and the numbers of dogs a person should be allowed to be licensed for.  They asked, shouldn't there be a ceiling on the number of dogs a person can be licensed for, and the suggested figure was 50 breeding bitches.  Why the figure of  50 should be redeemed acceptable I cannot imagine, as a person with 50 breeding bitches would still be considered a commercial breeder, possibly selling puppies to dealers and pets shops as they do now.  If commercial dog breeding is to be better regulated as it must, then the main purpose behind the owning of a large number of dogs for breeding must be banned.  Most breeders (but not all) that own a large number of dogs for breeding do so to to supply puppies to dealers and pet shops.  Therefore us, as campaigners must persistently provide Governments with good, factual, sound evidence that animal welfare is seriously compromised by allowing the puppy trade to continue.

A statement written by the blogger of Safe Pets UK blog said the following and I quote:

'We are just finishing  Freedom of Information enquiries regarding the issue of dog breeding licences by various councils around the country.  It has long been thought that the majority of the puppy farmers are in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, Wales and thousands of sick, fearful and aggressive puppies are sold from there all over the UK.  Our study aims to prove for the first time that the problem in those areas is real.   End of quote

My goodness, 'Our study aims to prove for the first time that the problem in those areas is real' this information is not news and to say it is the first time is incorrect, those of us that have campaigned for years as far back as 1991 with Puppy Watch and in recent times the Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Puppy Love Campaigns, Hope UK, Spec, Animal Aid, Nature Watch, the  Kennel Club, Puppy Farming Aware and Puppy Alert have all sang from the same hymn sheet and saying that Wales is the centre of the puppy farming supply trade of irresponsibly bred puppies followed by Eire.  Puppy Alert and Puppy Love Campaigns have for years received information under FOI confirming this fact and have written about it often.  But unfortunately whilst Governments and MPs, AMs place their heads in the sand and quote the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, the Pet Animals Act 1951/91 and Animal Welfare Act as being adequate to control the excesses of dog breeding and the selling of puppies from pet shops, rather than accepting the visual and factual evidence supplied by campaigning groups both large and small as proof nothing will change.

We all have a voice  including Safe Pets UK who hopefully will continue to highlight the puppy trade.  We must all work with one aim in mind to prevent the sale of puppies from dealers and pet shops thus reducing the need for large commercial breeding establishments to operate. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Mathew & Patricia Whelan together with daughter Brenda Whelan O'Brian

Mathew and Patricia Whelan together with their daughter Brenda Whelan O'Brian were banned from keeping and owning dogs for 5 years after a Judge at Luton Magistrates Court described the 'chaotic puppy farm as woefully inadequate'.  They all were found guilty of the charges bought against them.  The whole article in the local press can be read here.


They were breeding unlicensed and selling puppies that became sick after purchase. Some of you reading this may recall that they were previously licensed by S Bedfordshire Council as a pet shop (but selling puppies from their home) and advertising on the Internet as PupsonLine.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

N Kesteven Council - Willow Farm Kennels

Have now received a long awaited response from N Kesteven Council regarding the selling of a puppy from Willow Farm Kennels that died within days of purchase of suspected distemper or leptospirosis both diseases and one a zoonosis.

When the Council were asked what their policy was when advised that a puppy was sold from a licensed premises (pet shop licence) in their area?  They replied with 'N Kesteven Council does not have a specific policy when a puppy has been sold that has later died of  of a possible outbreak of distemper or leptospirosis, each incident is dealt with as appropriate to the individual circumstances'.

N Kesteven Council were contacted on the 26th May 2011, I understand they spoke to the owner of the premises Willow Farm Kennels the same day but failed to make a visit to the premises until the 10th June 2011.  Followed by another visit on the 22nd June 2011.  Why did it take N Kesteven Council 15 days to visit the premises when they were notified by the purchaser that their puppy had died from a suspected contagious disease?

The Council said they had no concern for the premises, yet on reading inspection reports under FOI it appears that since 2008 the Council licensing officer has requested and noted on the inspection reports that wood panels and doors needs replacing on the areas where the puppies are kept. Why is N Kesteven Council allowing this to continue and renewing their licence each year when the owners are failing to comply with their licence conditions?  The Council are failing in their duty of care too as wood is porous and a known source of spread of disease in kennel areas.  The pet shop licence holders excuse for not replacing the wood with metal was 'money is tight', that was in 2008 and 2009 and still the work has not been undertaken.

The puppy that was sold from Willow Farm Kennels according to N Kesteven Council was from an unlicensed breeder, and they have contacted the Council for the area where the puppy was bred.

The questions that remain unanswered are what happened to the other puppies in this litter if they too were delivered to Willow Farm Kennels, were they sold or did they die too?  Did the Council contact purchasers of  puppies on the premises at Willow Farm at the same time as the puppy suspected of carrying these diseases was there, advising them of this contagious outbreak?  It appears not.

This is not acceptable practice on behalf of the owner of the premises nor N Kesteven Council, they have failed in their duty of care on animal welfare and to the consumer who purchases puppies from these premises.  The Council says they have few complaints, yet looking at the review online of WillowFarm Kennels there appears to be many disgruntled purchasers of sick puppies.  I can recall complaints as long ago as 15 years.

My advice would be to anyone who has purchased a sick puppy from these premises to contact N Kesteven Council they may not be so willing on re-issuing the licence next year if complaints are received.  If more people complained about pet shops selling sick puppies then perhaps 'money is tight' will be a real reality for the owners of these premises selling puppies forcing them to close.  

Friday, 1 July 2011


Another day has passed and the waiting continues.  Carmarthenshire planning department are still waiting for further information relating to the retrospective/change of use planning application for Beili Bedw.  In the meantime 196 dogs languish in these barns, remember the premises, with just the owner (wife works for the Authority) to look after 1,000 sheep as well as 196 dogs and litters of puppies.
What is the thinking behind Carmarthenshire licensing department  when they have re-issued a dog breeders licence each year for these premises when they know there is only one person responsible for so many dogs?  Common sense appears to be none existent.  Many breeding bitches will be expecting puppies, others rearing a litter and some puppies requiring weaning.  Without the everyday basic tasks of feeding, watering and cleaning of the dogs living and sleeping quarters.  Where can the time be found to check the health condition of every dog, grooming and exercise, there is not any time and for this reason animal welfare has to be seriously compromised.
When all the relevant information is received by the planning department what will their decision be?  Will they take account of the 900 plus objections to this planning, change of use application or will they (because the licensing department have already licensed the premises) be swayed by this irresponsible decision and accept that one person can care for 196 dogs, litters puppies and 1,000 sheep by giving planning permission too?  We all wait in anticipation and fear for the welfare of the breeding bitches and their puppies confined in this large battery dog farm. Carmarthenshire County Council have as yet not shown that animal welfare takes a high priority, can we really expect this to change?  I certainly hope so, these premises are one step to far and if agreed will set a precedent for even more battery dog farms (as if there are not enough with large numbers of dogs already) operating in Wales. I despair of the lack of integrity of those who are responsible for making decisions that allow premises such as this to exist.