Pressing for answers while the puppies keep selling
A few weeks ago I asked the Kennel Club to comment on an obvious puppy dealer, member of the Pet Industry Federation who has, the dealer/seller claims, long relationships stretching over two decades with 4 breeders supplying them KC registered puppies. It took the KC a prompt or two to get back to me, but, their tweeted responses stated:
On the face of it, the words are reassuring, but actions are what dogs need and what’s severely lacking in many quarters when it comes to breeding regulations and enforcement. The market is in effect a free-for-all facilitated by a lot of agencies and factors, including the perceived added value that KC registration gives a seller. So, I looked up the link the KC provided and there in black and white, it requires breeders to agree that they:
“Will only sell dogs where there is a reasonable expectation of a happy and healthy life and will help with the re-homing of a dog if the initial circumstances change”
So, selling to a third party dealer, as in the Pixieland example, clearly does not allow a breeder to have any idea of the life their puppies will be getting, let alone any expectation. Hence, the KC Code of Ethics also requires breeders to agree they:
“Will not sell any dog to commercial dog wholesalers, retail pet dealers…”
Again, all good words and in line with the views of campaigners and welfare organisations who want to end third party sales of puppies (except of course the Pet Industry Federation who Pixieland are members of).
So, what sanctions does the KC say will be meted out if a breeder breaches the code, as it appears to be the case here?
“Breach of these provisions may result in expulsion from club membership, and/or disciplinary action by the Kennel Club and/or reporting to the relevant authorities for legal action, as appropriate”.
I imagine expulsion from the club might be more a tickled armpit than a slapped wrist for those earning big figures from puppy farming and high volume sales. And of course, the KC does require those breeding more than four litters a year to have a licence. Again, good words, but as many know, notorious puppy farms who no-one could argue is anything but, have licences. A licence rarely means much to the dogs kept in the kennels, sheds and concrete pens of the high volume breeders. So that particular KC requirement really doesn’t help the dogs of course, and reporting to relevant authorities may well not change a thing if they’re licensed breeders selling their KC registered puppies to a dealer.
Really? Well that’s of no comfort to the thousands of breeding dogs not living the life dogs should do.
I’m not the first person on earth to raise these issues with the KC. I don’t pretend to be breaking a news story. All this is well known and has been to many, over a number of years. Good people have forged a path that I now join in trying to bring clarity to the opaque, deliberately so, some might suggest, registration systems operated by the KC, used by high volume breeders, aka puppy farmers. Just ahead of the KC’s Puppy Awareness week at the start of the month, this was published by K9 Magazine. It’s a fascinating read, well worth your while. Passages like this for example:
“So, a simple question:
If you had that kind of a set up and you really wanted to no longer allow a single puppy farmer to register their puppies with you and sully your name, cause damage by association to the very good breeders on your registry and, as a result, profit from the suffering of commercially bred dogs – why wouldn’t you make this simple move:
Completely close the free-for-all registry that you know and admit is used by high volume dog breeders and only operate the Assured breeder scheme?
Seriously. Why would you not do that?
Yes, there’s a lot of money in that breed registry. More money, in fact, than pours in to the Assured breeder scheme. But if YOU were going to stand on a soap box and lecture people about the horrors of puppy farming, wouldn’t you try to make absolutely sure you weren’t still cashing the cheques from some of the very people whom you are warning the public about?
Wouldn’t you feel a bit ‘funny’ wagging your finger at the public preaching about puppy farmers when you’ve got some seriously high volume breeders using your own registry and sending their cash your way?”
Reading the whole article might help show you why I find it quite incredible that the Kennel Club appear to only just be finding out about Pixieland, an obvious puppy dealer advertising a 16 and 25 year relationship with 4 breeders selling KC registered pups. I may be relatively new to this, but others have been investigating, reporting, lobbying for many years. And all the while, through year after year, nothing appears to change for the dogs.
But, I wanted to check with the KC if this really is the first time that Pixieland and its breeders have been brought to their attention. After me asking several times, in a statement the Kennel Club issued late on Friday afternoon they said:
“We have no previous records about this particular issue. It is against our Code of Ethics to sell puppies to pet shops and this issue is currently being looked into by the Kennel Club.”
Quite remarkable when we look at the longevity of relationships claimed between these particular KC breeders and puppy dealer/seller, if of course it’s true.
But, actions are what we need to see from all those who want to end the suffering of dogs in the breeding industry. This is something the KC publicly lobbies for, and it has healthy resources it can use in this. So, with the assurance last week to me, from the KC, that they are “still looking into the matter” , the matter being a Pet Industry Federation member selling KC registered puppies they haven’t bred, and that “Once we have replies to our enquiries we can investigate taking further action” you can trust me, I’ll be reporting back.