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Love all dogs on World Animal Day!

At Naturewatch Foundation, we love dogs of all ages. If you telephone our office, you’ll often hear a friendly bark in the background! And now it seems, even the Prime Minister is smitten by a canine chum. Newspapers have widely reported that the latest resident of No 10 Downing Street, is 15-week-old, Dilyn the dog. Rescued from a hideous puppy farm, Dilyn’s saviours were the wonderful volunteer group Friends of Animals Wales – a group which rehabilitates sick and unwanted animals. They fixed Dilyn’s wonky jaw and found him a rather smart home.

World Animal Day on 4th October is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all animals.  Dogs have a special relationship with humans that goes back many tens of thousands of years. Sadly, right under our noses, dogs also continue to be cruelly exploited by profit-hungry, unscrupulous, humans.

Despite clampdowns on illegal puppy farms and attempts to inform the public of the horror of these dog breeding hells, the demand for puppies continues to promote a shadowy cash-rich industry in the UK.  Pregnant mums and tiny puppies suffer in decrepit sheds in remote farms, caged in ramshackle backstreet yards and smuggled across borders with forged documents (if any) - all to meet demand. Over 400,000 farmed puppies are still sold in the UK each year. Turning a blind eye to the suffering that pups and their mum endure is not right.

Reports of illegal puppy farming have increased dramatically in the last decade. The RSPCA recently released statistics that it received 4,357 calls in 2018 alerting it to potential cases in England, up from 890 in 2008. Rises were also recorded in Wales and Scotland.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said tougher dog breeding licensing conditions introduced in 2019 and the long-awaited ban on the third party sale of puppies and kittens from April 2020 (known as Lucy's Law) would help to stamp out the “appalling trade”. The new laws require enforcement to make them work and this responsibility has largely been handed to cash-strapped local councils.

The animal welfare sector is also working together to help stamp out puppy farming and there are some brilliant campaigns promoting puppy contracts and the steps people can take to make sure they don’t unwittingly buy a puppy from a puppy farmer. Naturewatch Foundation’s #Vet4Puppies public awareness campaign is rolling out across the UK, helping dog lovers not to be victims of puppy farmers. You may have seen our posters and information leaflets in your local vets.

In 2019, Naturewatch Foundation started covert investigations into reporting illegal puppy farming in the UK, to support the work of animal crime law enforcement officers. The launch of #Hotline4Puppies followed our successful ongoing campaign reporting illegal badger persecution. Naturewatch Foundation investigators are now building and passing high-quality information packs, about suspected puppy farmers, to the Police, Local Authorities and the RSPCA. We are exposing real animal crime and helping bring perpetrators to justice. 

Due to ongoing investigations, we’re unable to expand upon specific cases but our December mailing to supporters should be able to provide more updates about this important project. Please email info@naturewatch.org, call 01242 252871 or visit this sign-up page if you would like to add your contact details to our mailing list.

None of the potentially life-saving information would have been uncovered had it not been for people coming forward with crucial leads.  If you suspect someone is involved in illegal puppy farming or breaching animal welfare standards in the breeding of dogs, please contact in strictest confidence, our Animal Crime Manager andrew@naturewatch.org or 07392 185 373.

As people across the world ‘tweet’ their love of animals and share Facebook pages to mark World Animal Day, spare a thought for the little puppies and their mums, still exploited in puppy farms and mills across the world.

If you know of anyone wanting to adopt or purchase a dog or puppy do support them, with your knowledge, to undertake sufficient research about where they are buying their dog from and to understand the responsibility they have to give them a safe and loving home!

Happy World Animal Day on 4th October!

SIX TOP TIPS

Always consider a rescue dog first.
If you are buying a puppy, only buy from reputable breeders – make sure they’re licensed if a business.
Never buy a puppy younger than eight weeks old.
Is the puppy healthy? Check for vaccinations, is it microchipped, and ask the seller to complete a ‘Puppy Contract’.
Always see the puppy interact with its mother, at the place where the puppy was bred.
Never meet in a ‘neutral’ location such as a motorway service station or car park.

Tips when buying a dog