Beware The Puppy Dealers
The rough end of the puppy breeding industry is a world inhabited by puppy dealers who in today’s booming, poorly regulated puppy market are making huge sums of money and duping thousands of puppy buyers. The recent case of a puppy dealer who made tens of thousands of pounds a week selling puppies illustrates the money that’s easily made by those who pretend to be selling dogs they’ve bred themselves. However, the dogs are bought in by the puppy dealers from breeding facilities which are run by puppy farmers or backstreet breeders. Some are located in rural locations using agricultural buildings, others will be in suburban homes where cages can be stacked in rooms or garden sheds. Some of these breeders sell direct to the public, as well as using a network of puppy dealers. So many puppies are being produced today in the UK that breeders alone could never sell the numbers they’re producing; this is where puppy dealers are an essential, horrible part of this nasty trade.
This is an industry that traps countless parent dogs in cruelty through all the years that they’re kept alive to breed. Many of the dogs don’t leave the confinement of the breeding facilities alive, whether that’s a concrete pen in an agricultural shed, or a stacked cage in someone’s back room or garden shed. They live and die in a few square feet of misery. Their lives are purely an existence for the profit of those confining them. Puppy buyers usually have no knowledge of the dreadful conditions their puppies start life in; nor what their parents are left behind to endure. If they do, they buy the puppies in the belief they’re saving them; but the market gains another sale, puppy dealers line their pockets and the demand continues in the lucrative puppy trade.
As public awareness has slowly caught up with messages on social media, and welfare education which urges puppy buyers to see puppies with their mum, the puppy dealers and sellers remain several steps ahead. They make it their business to know what tactics they need to employ to continue their cruel trade. Those who don’t breed the puppies and cannot produce mum, are known to have stooge mother dogs available should savvy puppy buyers be aware enough to ask ‘where’s mum’?
A spokesperson for campaign group Puppy Love Campaigns told me recently that during their undercover investigations they’ve often been approached by breeders offering them a female dog – not always mother to the litter – to have on hand during puppy sales, and as soon as she’s served her purpose which is to fool the buyers, she’s back to the breeding shed.
We have had many conversations with puppy farmers of all kinds. All over the country they’ve got friends and friends of friends, who sell pups for them. In fact, on more than one occasion when we’ve been undercover, we’ve been asked if we want to do it too.
One breeder asked us to consider selling her litters with or without mum present for £400 per pup, anything we could make over that was ours to keep.
Mum being present isn’t a problem for these people, they either transport mum before she whelps or after and when pups are sold she goes back to the shed to start again.
It’s hard for average puppy buyers to know whether any adult dog that’s presented as mum, is indeed mum. For those familiar with dogs this might be hard to understand, but it really is hard if the first time you really have close contact with an adult dog and her puppies is when you’re buying one. Which, let’s face it, is likely to be the case for the vast majority of people buying a puppy. But even if she is mum, it’s absolutely no guarantee that she and other dogs are kept in anything like good conditions. It’s great that the message is getting through to buyers that puppies must be with mum, but this simple message has severe limitations in today’s cruel, badly regulated puppy trade.
As well as puppy dealers duping buyers into thinking the puppies they’re selling have been bred by them, and either using a stooge female dog to get over any questions about ‘where’s mum’, or simply making excuses for her not being around, it’s entirely possible that a typical puppy sale today is one where mum is in fact present with her puppies and they’ve all just been taken out of the shed in the garden. When the sale is done, back to the shed mum goes with any remaining puppies, to join the other 15 or more breeding dogs who will never live the lives they should as they’re trapped in the puppy trade. Those puppies are not sold by dealers, or third parties, they’re sold by breeders, probably unlicensed, but they could well be licensed. Licensing is absolutely no guarantee of goodness. It’s why the whole system needs a radical overhaul so that licensing does mean something for the buying public – and the dogs. As right now, the system is a malicious shambles for the dogs whatever way it’s looked at.
It’s the kind of sales scene that happens across the country daily. It’s why the major organisations who see the reality of the puppy trade on a first-hand basis know that a concerted effort to tackle the trade in its entirety is needed. It’s why, whilst being something I wholeheartedly want to see, I know that a ban on selling puppies by third parties on its own is never going to end the suffering of dogs in the puppy trade. It won’t help those dogs being kept in garden sheds in stacked cages whose puppies are sold not by puppy dealers, but by the breeders, direct to the buyers; nor the dogs in places where the breeders sell directly to the public in special ‘public friendly’ sales areas. Puppies are sold by people who use all the tactics of the sly and cruel puppy trade to make the easy money that the current system enables.
To support the work of those fighting this cruelty in all its forms and who understand the fullness of what must be done, visit:
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home end backstreet breeding campaign