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KC and Moto stamp out ‘car park puppy farming’

A NEW initiative to clamp down on puppy farmers has been launched by the Kennel Club in conjunction with the UK’s leading canine charity and one of the UK’s biggest motorway service area groups.

Puppies across the country are being ruthlessly sold in car parks – often in motorway services - by puppy farmers who breed purely for profit, treating the dogs as commodities only, disregarding their basic needs and care.

The Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and Moto motorway service areas have teamed up to call for public support and vigilance to help put a stop to this trade which causes so much unnecessary suffering.

Puppy farmers profit greatly from intensive breeding, with their aim being to make a quick turnover. They achieve this by selling the puppies when they are too young to be separated from their mothers and the rest of the litter. This early separation is both traumatic and problematic in terms of health, development and socialisation for the dogs. In addition to this they make the puppies suffer further by transporting them on long journeys, both without their mothers and cramped in cages.

Moto staff have confirmed that they have seen people buying puppies in their car parks. A spokesman said: ‘It would appear that the puppy farmers arrange to meet their customers at motorway service areas because they are easy to get to and afford a degree of anonymity.

However we would like to make it clear that it’s not our customers who are involved. Moto, in common with other motorway service area operators, is vehemently opposed to all illegal trading on its property and will take whatever steps are necessary to help stamp it out.’

Puppy farmers are a longstanding problem that the Kennel Club has wanted to see an end to, but as they are often hidden away within private households they are extremely difficult to detect. However, out in open spaces such as car parks, they are easier to identify.

Kennel Club Secretary, Caroline Kisko welcomed Moto’s support on the issue, saying; ‘Working with Moto, and their customers, we stand a real chance of stopping some of this irresponsible selling, whilst raising awareness of this cruel and illegal activity. At the same time we can highlight the problems that often result from buying a puppy in a car park.’

It is vital that the Kennel Club investigates the trade in puppies taking place in car parks, because although the law on puppy farming is sometimes poorly enforced due to the ‘underground’ nature of the trade, enforcement officers have agreed to investigate ‘hot spots’ and prosecute offenders.

The initiative was welcomed by Ken McKie, of the anti-puppy farming group WAG, who commented: ‘WAG welcomes any initative that is intended to bring to an end all puppy farming and their illegal activities. We would urge, though, that not only should these matters be reported but in fact they should also be reported to the authorities with pressure to act.

Such sales are illegal under the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act and the Pet Animals Act for those licensed and under the new Welfare of Animals Transport Order. We would encourage that the Kennel Club bring pressure to bear on these agencies who frequently turn a blind eye to such events.

‘Although these sales occur they still are the lesser side of the criminal activities involving puppy farming but if we can even halt these sales many poor puppies and their long suffering mothers will be saved from some of the suffering.

‘At present the UK is being swamped with puppies and what will happen to many of these animals when the owners discard them once the novelty wears off. We hope that this is the first of many initiatives being created to end this trade.’

There is also some evidence that dogs which have been stolen are sold on at motorway services, so the KC/DT/Moto initiative may well help the battle against dog theft. Margaret Nawrockyi of the dog theft awareness group Dog Theft Action also greeted the initiative.

‘Dog Theft Action is encouraged by the recent announcement that the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and Moto Service Stations have joined forces in a bid to stop the activities of puppy farmers in their tracks,’ said Nawrockyi. ‘This issue has huge implications for the victims of dog theft who live in a constant state of anguish at the thought of their beloved pet being used for breeding purposes in this cruel way. This initiative is yet another example of how different organisations are co-operating and co-ordinating their efforts to stop illegal trading from taking place and their efforts are to be applauded.

‘DTA would like to reiterate the advice given by the KC to only purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder. We would also encourage potential dog owners to consider the option of offering a home to one of the many dogs in rescue and welfare organizations, who are desperate for a second chance to enjoy life. This way information and support is available to promote a positive relationship between dog and owner and it will remove the demand for puppies bred in such dreadful circumstances.’

The Kennel Club needs the help of the public to crack down on ‘service area’ puppy farmers – if you see anything suspicious at all please contact Holly Lee, Public Affairs Officer at the Kennel Club on 020 7518 1020 or email holly.lee@thekennelclub.org.uk