RSPCA Inspector Sue Walpole with Jamie Cobb (10),
Labrador puppy Drahm and Northampton Saints rugby star Shane Drahm
THE FUTURE of a breeding kennels from which 180 Labradors were rehomed by the RSPCA is still uncertain, as no decision appears to have been taken regarding the renewal of the breeder’s licence.
As reported previously, commercial breeder Christina Cade, who register her dogs under the Crisella affix, called on the RSPCA for help after the population of young dogs at her kennels in Swanton Moreley, Norfolk escalated and remained unsold, due to a number of personal problems and the fact that Miss Cade was technically in breach of her licence conditions, which led to her licence being suspended.
The dogs ranged in age from four months to two years, and were mostly black Labradors. Some news reports suggested that there were a number of chocolate Labrador puppies amongst them, although Miss Cade denied this, saying that the only chocolate dogs were, in fact, four chocolate Curly Coated Retrievers.
Two weeks ago, the RSPCA collected the puppies from Miss Cade’s premises and officers distributed them to around 20 other rescue centres around the country. The charity said that they would have no trouble finding homes for the dogs and this was borne out after GMTV featured the story, prompting over 40,000 telephone calls to the charity from people registering an interest. A charge of about £200 per dog was made to cover the cost of their care while with the RSPCA, plus vaccination and microchips.
The RSPCA was keen to emphasise that there were no welfare concerns with the dogs, nor had there ever been any such concerns.
A spokesperson said that plans to remove the dogs were being put in jeopardy because of press speculation and appealed to everyone to allow them to remove the dogs safely and carefully, thus avoiding the dogs from being put through undue stress at this time.
Fifty of the young Labradors were given a temporary home at Block Fen Animal Centre at Wimblington, near March, where crowds of eager pet-lovers crammed into the entrance foyer as soon as doors opened at lunchtime on Saturday, October 2nd, eager to secure a Labrador of their own. Within minutes, tickets had been allocated on a first come, first-served basis, and the puppies logged to their potential new owners, subject to satisfactory home checks by the RSPCA.
The local authority, Breckland Council had served a number of enforcement against Miss Cade after repeated complaints from nearby residents about noise.
A petition was handed to the council in May 2002 signed by 120 people demanding action to quieten the noise from the dogs at the kennels. Miss Cade duly spent £90,000 on building a soundproof kennel block for the dogs.
One condition of the planning permission for the new building was that Miss Cade ceased using the original stable for dogs by February 2004.
However, this building is still in use and noise has apparently persisted, resulting in two noise-abatement notices being served, whilst a further notice was served for breach of the Breeding of Dogs Act after numbers on the land exceeded those set out by a vet when the licence was given.
On the subject of her breeding operations, Miss Cade explained that her breeding licence had expired in August this year and she had decided not to renew it until an RSPCA official had met with Breckland Council’s Environmental Services department late last week to discuss the matter, having reduced the number of dogs on her premises.
"The RSPCA has been absolutely marvellous and is helping me with matters connected to the breeding licence. Both sides will discuss the matter and hopefully reach an agreement on my being able to continue.
"One of the things the council want me to do is to put my whelping bitches and puppies in the soundproofed building and it’s not suitable for them, and this is one of the points we’re discussing. Breckland have admitted that whelping bitches do not make a noise, so there shouldn’t be any problem with them being housed in their own special building. I believe - and the RSPCA agree with me - that whelping bitches and puppies need peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of other dogs."
Asked whether there had been complaints about noise caused by the dogs, Miss Cade said: "There will always be complaints about kennel noise, which is why we spent £90,000 building a soundproof kennel block. So this is why we’ve had this thin out so we can get all of the animals into the block so they’re not causing any noise whatsoever, except the whelping bitches and puppies."
The Kennel Club’s Breed Record Supplement shows that between 1997 and 2002 she registered 78 litters. However, in 2003, no Crisella litters were registered.
Miss Cade confirmed to OUR DOGS that she had not registered many litters recently due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak as she keeps cattle and also because of pressure from the local authority. It is believed that most of the dogs taken by the RSPCA were not registered with the KC.
After the 180 dogs were taken by the RSPCA, Miss Cade confirmed that she had aimed to breed from the remaining dogs again, once the matter of her licence was sorted out with Breckland Council and was aiming to establish a breeding stock of 40 dogs.
Miss Cade felt she had been unfairly criticised and wasn’t prepared for journalists from national and regional newspapers gathering in the lane outside her driveway, which caused a great deal of distress to her 89 year-old mother, who was in poor health.
Early this week this week, a spokesperson for Breckland Council confirmed that meetings had taken pace between their Environmental Services department and the RSPCA, but that a decision on the matter of Miss Cade’s licence renewal was still under discussion.
Miss Cade told OUR DOGS: "Of course I’m hopeful that my licence can be renewed and that things can settle down a bit. I have plenty of part-time helpers I can call on, but obviously matters are difficult as regards employing them until I know about the licence.
"At this time, I’m very concerned about my mother’s health, on top of running the kennels and looking after the dogs that we have here. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon."
RUGGER HERO PRESENTS FIRST PUPPY TO FAN
It was a dream come true for young rugby fan Jamie Cobb on Tuesday when his favourite ruby player, Northampton Saints team member Shane Drahm presented him with his new RSPCA puppy, named Drahm after his hero.
Jamie Cobb (10) had wanted a dog for years - but when he reached his 10th birthday his parents decided that, with their help, he was ready for the responsibility of owning a pet. And when Jamie set his heart on rehoming one of the 180 Labradors shown on television last month, his dad decided he would do his best to get him one.
Dad Ivan Cobb went to the RSPCA's Block Fen Animal Centre, Wimblington, Cambridgeshire, at about 2pm on Friday 1 October, and stayed there overnight, sleeping in his car. He was first in the queue when the animal centre finally opened its doors to the public at midday on Saturday 2 October. Jamie then joined his dad so he could choose his puppy.
Ivan said: "It was an extremely emotional moment. Jamie burst into tears he was so happy and it was very touching. After the initial surprise, Jamie was beaming from ear to ear."
Jamie added: "I saw the puppies on television and I really wanted to rescue one of them. I love Drahm and I'm looking forward to taking him to agility classes when he gets older. It's brilliant to be meeting Shane as he's my favourite rugby player and I'm glad I named Drahm after him."
There was no doubt about what Jamie would call his dog - it had to be Drahm, after his favourite rugby player. Jamie, who lives in Cambridge and goes to Fen Ditton Primary School, Cambridge, attends Northampton Saints matches regularly with his dad and has a collection of Shane Drahm's autographs. When Shane heard that Jamie had named his new dog after him, he agreed to meet his young fan and hand the dog over to him.
Tim Wass, Superintendent for the RSPCA's East region said: "We are delighted that Jamie and his family were able to rehome Drahm and that Shane wanted to meet them both. We had a fantastic response to the appeal for homes for the Labradors and we thank everyone for their support. All these dogs, and many more animals in need, have been rehomed thanks to this appeal."
RSPCA Inspector Sue Walpole joined Jamie and Shane when Drahm was handed over at the Block fen rescue centre.