Joe and June and Albert Claude
Albert Claude was five months old when I adopted him. He spent the first weeks of his life in Eric Hale’s industrial scale dog breeding operation in Northern Ireland. Supposedly Albert’s parents were June and Joe. I doubt this is true. Eric Hale has hundreds of dogs in his breeding sheds. I expect they are all called Joe and June on the paperwork. It makes the papework look good. It’s all part of the lie.
I know about Joe and June because Albert’s adoption file includes papers from his sale in a petshop. The papers show that the person buying Albert paid £650 to a petshop and just a day or so later gave him to a rescue. She’d changed her mind about keeping ‘Wolfgang’ as the petshop had named him. Again, it’s on the paperwork.
November 29th is the date on Albert’s petshop ‘puppy health check certificate’. January 18th the day he was sold. Seven weeks he sat unsold in a petshop. At a critical stage for a dog’s development. I am glad that petshop is now out of business. But it’s not because business was bad, it’s because it’s no longer legal to sell puppies in shops in that way. Sales have shifted to other outlets, the dealers and puppy farmers are doing things differently. However, while the sales outlets have changed, the Joes and Junes in the breeding sheds are still hard at it for the likes of Eric Hale.
Today I look at Albert Claude’s abundant happiness and imagine how different his life could so easily have been. Eric Hale’s business featured in the Bafta award winning documentary ‘Puppy Dealers Exposed’ in 2016. As a shocking example of how massive puppy breeding businesses are. And nothing for breeding dogs has got any better since then. And Eric Hale is still in business.
Albert’s parents – ‘Joe’ and ‘June’- are probably dead now. They’ll have known no love nor care in their lives. Nor run, or walked in fresh air like their boy does every day.
What a terrible turn of fate life is for breeding dogs. For hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of dogs, in the UK alone.