I watched Panorama on BBC1 yesterday (Britain’s Puppy Dealers Exposed) and it was disturbing but it wasn’t revealing or even surprising. If, however, it’ll stop even one person from contributing to the puppy trade, the documentary was worth making.
The solution to the puppy farms problem is very simple: if there’s no demand, there will be no supply. The puppy dealers love money, the love of money makes them ignore the suffering of animals, the love of money makes them deceive people, the love of money that would make them do anything.
Dogs from puppy farms have it hard-not just in puppyhood. They might have various health issues. As they’re not socialised in the most vital period of their lives, they will have problems with other dogs, or people, or both. If you’ve ever seen a dog with behavioural problems caused by fear and anxiety you’ll never forget it. It breaks your heart and yet, to help, you need to control your emotions first. The socialisation/rehabilitation process never ends and it’s hard work. You pay with money, time, emotions.
Lily had a bad start in life. She’ll never be fully ‘normal’. She’ll never be a family dog. Everything we do needs to be thought about in terms of ‘training’. One silly, thoughtless decision that results in exposing her to too much uncontrolled stress can set us back weeks or months. I love my dogs, but they are not for everyone.
So, check before you buy, see the mother, visit the pups at home a few times, interact with them, don’t buy from people offering more than one breed at the same place, beware of some clear signs something is wrong: bitches said to be mothers but looking too young to possibly have had litter, puppies brought to be seen one by one (not with siblings and mother), the seller not asking questions about you and your circumstances, no proper contract and so on. If something seems wrong it usually is. If you think the ‘breeder’ is really a dealer and the puppies might be from a puppy farm, if the conditions in kennels are bad, report them to RSPCA or CARIAD (Wales)
If you feel lost, ask a professional for help. It’s cheaper than the vet’s and behaviourist’s bills and will save you tears later as well.