Puppy wholesaleing - how it works

(29 Posts)

In the news today here - this is a perfect illustration of how pups are actually wholesale commodities. Pups are born and raised for the first few weeks on Welsh puppy farms. Typically, a licensed puppy farm can have 70, 80 or 100+ bitches with a couple of staff. Most don't sell directly to the public. Instead, they sell to wholesalers (who in theory should be licensed). In this raid, French bulldogs, poms and West Highlands were found - other popular breeds include CKC, Shitzu, Poodles, all the doodle variants, and things like Cavochons. The wholesalers then run ads on popular internet sites. Mobile phones are used - cheap disposable phones which are changed regularly. Stock photos can be used - they don't date and most people can't tell the difference between an individual pup and a carefully posed cute shot.

Then the clever bit. "Front" families are used - nice clean house, maybe a couple of kids, oh yes, she's a family pet, etc etc. Front family has a very nice little cash incentive (useful cash income) and buyer goes away blissfully unaware of the trail of misery, death and disease they have bought into.

Please be under no illusions - puppy wholesaleing is a hugely profitable business. Those 87 pups today will have been worth at least £40K (this is a low estimate) - much of this tax free. Costs are low, likelihood of interference by HMRC/Councils v low, potential profit v high. Demand is high - despite the good intentions of all welfare campaigners and reputable breeders, there are still thousands out there who want puppies for Christmas.

Sadly, most of these pups are poorly socialised, and many have health problems. After a year, the Kennel Club's own research shows that at least 25% will no longer be with their families - given up when they stop being cute, start nipping and become stroppy teenagers that need training, attention and expensive health care. Lucky ones may end up in rescue. Unlucky ones will join the many thousands of pedigree dogs in pounds.

Please, if you are considering a dog, adopt first. If you really must have a puppy (and for most families there is no need) either get one from a rescue or from a REPUTABLE breeder (yes, there are some out there). If you go to a reputable breeder, you will have to wait, and the questioning will make most rescue homechecks look mild. Please, please, please DON'T buy a puppy for Christmas.

What's worrying even more now is that recent relaxations on dog travel mean that we are starting to see pups coming in at a very young age from Eastern and Central Europe. This will make the current welfare issues around puppy farming look like a walk in the park.

Itwasntmemum Thu 29-Nov-12 23:09:08

I'm glad you've posted this - I was just thinking of this today while I walked dog. We got him last year after searching and searching and researching rescue centres and finally found a rescue centre that my husband and son visited in Wiltshire which looked fine and had lots of reviews on it's website and nothing negative on google search. I told them that if it looked unclean or dogs not kept we'll to turn and leave with no dog. So they looked and then came away and rang me saying there were 10 puppies there and four still needing homes and then big story of how they got there etc. they picked one, brought him home and we've trained him etc BUT this year decided to look for another similar to him so I looked on website of centre, no dogs this time but then on another free ads - puppies again EXACTLY the same type as ours, same time of year etc so did a little more digging and finally found their name on a website listing places that sell dogs from puppy farms
I am so sad and feel awful that in our ignorance we bought from these people ( someone had said that they are gypsies and used all different phones, adverts etc). I realise just how naive we were, I had no idea that it was so rife and the only time I questioned it was when I wondered why they had a whole litter of puppies. I look at our dog and he is fine now but if he develops health problems (behaviour is fine) I will feel awful for him and for us.
I hope a new documentary will come out regarding this - it seems to be worse than ever and more puppies than ever for sale too. I hope the 'rescue' centre ( pet shop) that we visited gets shutdown as I know there will be others who visit and think the same way we did. I did so much research that I am gutted.

Awful sad

What can we (as individuals) actually do to help stop this? I have gone for rescue myself, and try to discourage anyone I know planning to get a dog from going to a puppy farm but it seems neverending. In the last couple of weeks I know people who have bought a 'chorkie' a 'cavashon' a 'shishon' and a lab puppy. I am in Wales so you can guess where these have come from.

Are there petitions that can be signed or letters that can be written?

Tooearly, so am I. There are several things you can do. One is to keep talking about this problem - sadly there are genuinely people out there who don't realise, though there are also plenty who prefer not to think about where their puppy has come from.

Secondly, encourage family and friends who are considering dog ownership to think rescue first. This trade could die out tomorrow if there was no demand.

Thirdly, support Cariad (the Welsh anti puppy farming coalition) or Puppywatch, both of which campaign in a variety of ways.

Thank you. The first 2 I already do. I have signed the petition on the CARIAD site, just wish I could do more.

I spent an afternoon last year just sitting in kennels with groups of ex breeding bitches. I was amazed how affectionate and trusting some were after all they had been through. It took all my willpower to not bring one home with me.

Others were so obviously petrified that they would do anything to get away from people. its awful to imagine how badly they must have been treated sad

UterusUterusGhouli Fri 30-Nov-12 00:42:35

I kinda thought this was the case when I looked at gumtree etc. A front family. You wonder why these families have pedigree dogs and are flogging them like this.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 30-Nov-12 07:37:52

The biggest give away is that the pups have a vaccination certificate for a single parvo vaccine from a vets in Wales, but bought the puppy from somewhere else- well why was it vaccinated in Wales?

RoverQuestion Fri 30-Nov-12 09:48:39

Thanks for the info Scuttlebutter - yes there are lots of suspect 'family' ads on our local free ads site.

As a point of interest, some of them say 'KC registered' - is this any guarantee of anything? How easy is it to get a 'Pedigree' certificate?

Sadly, KC registration by itself is no guarantee of quality, and many puppy farmers KC register their dogs. In fact, it's estimated that over 70% of all KC registrations are from volume breeders i.e. puppy farmers.

The KC has responded to this criticism by launching its Accredited Breeder scheme which is a small improvement but there are some quite serious concerns even about that, particularly about how it is "policed" and enforced. The KC's own website states that it's important for the visit to be an "enjoyable" experience for the breeder hmm - don't know of any enforcement scheme anywhere else that takes that stance?

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Nov-12 10:12:27

Thank you for starting this thread Scuttle - I saw this on regional news last night and was going to bring it up. Those poor pups in tubs sad

Lonecat's point about the vaccination is one which wouldn't have occurred to me - that should be publicised.

Yep, I fell for a 'front family' when I got Jas. He was the only pup, apparently an unwanted birthday present from a well meaning husband, woman was a nurse working shifts and just about to go back to work after maternity leave etc etc. His vaccines were local, though. We took him, forced money on her (she initially said she didn't want any, but kept saying that he'd cost her £400+ with vets bills etc, we gave her £250) and two weeks later I found an ad on Preloved from her selling the very same pup with the very same story. I wish I'd known that this went on, tbh. I knew about puppy farms, but thought that it would be obvious if I was buying from one. This was very devious, and with the excitement of falling in love with a puppy perhaps I took things on face value when I should have been more wary. I wouldn't swap him for the world now, but I do sometimes wonder about his dam, and what conditions she is being kept in. Jas came with papers etc in the name of Leo. Three months ago, we were at a local pub and a dog that was identical to him walked past. The chap walking him called him Leo. I wonder how many Leo's there are sad

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 30-Nov-12 14:16:15

I now have a brand knew vaccine story that should cause alarm bells ring with a puppy. Handing the new owners the empty vaccine vials and saying this is what they had on a date, no certificate no signature. I thought I had seen everything and this just comes along today!!!!!

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Nov-12 14:27:51

I'm wondering if someone could start a 'Puppy/kitten buying guide' under Christmas - first point, 'please don't' but then for those who've foolishly promised a pet a clear description of what to avoid. I don't have the expertise to start this myself.

BinarySolo Fri 30-Nov-12 15:34:30

Hmmmm. This has got me thinking about my dog. We rescued a springer spaniel using preloved. We were told he was the size of a springer bitch, but my bitch towers over him, in fact he's 4 now and people still ask me if he's a puppy. He's a lovely dog but rather timid. The family gave him up because they didn't have time to walk him. The thing that struck me as odd was that apart from the little girl, the family were totally unemotional about rehoming him. They had a boy about 7 years old and just seemed disinterested. He's the loveliest dog ever, very affectionate and obedient.

We didn't pay anything for him, so if it was a scam, it was a poor one!

RedwingWinter Fri 30-Nov-12 16:47:10

Thanks for this Scuttle.

The BBC has a story today too about puppies trafficked from Ireland www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20527281

Floralnomad Fri 30-Nov-12 17:18:35

When we did our puppy socialising at the vets there was a cockapoo who I'm pretty sure must have come from one of those 'fronting' families. Apparently they had had him from the breeder and then decided they couldn't keep him at 10 weeks ,so sold him on to this family ( allegedly for less money but still £250) . Two years on he has various health issues including a hip problem which I wouldn't have associated with small dogs.

MoaningMingeWhimpersAgain Fri 30-Nov-12 17:24:35

scuttle it turns out I actually know someone who sells dogs like this. An acquaintance obviously, not a friend.
I would love any suggestions on how I can stop her - report to HMRC? I'm sure it's not declared. I assume that stabbing her is not strictly allowed

She collects puppies which are sent over from Ireland, advertises them on PreLoved/Pets4homes/Gumtree and sells them, she sells them for double the price she paid for them. The dogs are being collected from a normal family home sad

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 30-Nov-12 17:29:09

Moaning even when you know who these people are in fact even when puppies die in your surgery from Parvo it is very difficult to stop them. It may not be your case, but typically they use lots of names and even change their house name and eventually disappear owing all and sundry money.

AThingInYourLife Fri 30-Nov-12 17:33:11

Front families shock

That is good to know. That is the sort of thing I could have fallen for.

PrincessSymbian Fri 30-Nov-12 17:33:30

What a horrific way of making money sad

foxy6 Fri 30-Nov-12 17:36:52

friends of ours got there westie like this for a breeder in west wales. they went to see and all looked fine they picked their puppy and then went to collect him a week later, after getting home they were convinced it was a different puppy. within 2 weeks he was in the vets at deaths door with parvo virus and on more investigation they found out he came from Ireland. he is one of the luckly ones he pulled through and got a nice home. not all are so fortunate.

MoaningMingeWhimpersAgain Fri 30-Nov-12 17:37:03

No - she will be staying put - I have known her for a while and she is married to someone I know fairly well. Only found out recently though. She is rather odd, as well. I would love to grass her up but AFAIK it's not actually illegal in itself, is it?

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 30-Nov-12 17:43:01

Moaning actually if she is not registered as a pet shop it is illegal as she is purchasing animals and retailing them - you need a pet shop licence to do this. A quick call to trading standards will sort this.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 30-Nov-12 17:49:15

Moaning - yes, HMRC and trading standards.

MousyMouse Fri 30-Nov-12 17:54:32

call me stupid, but why are these puppy farms in wales?

MoaningMingeWhimpersAgain Fri 30-Nov-12 18:02:43

That's really helpful, thanks. I will see if I can find out her address. I know her name and town/village but not the actual address.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 30-Nov-12 20:08:51

They are on farms of which there a lot in Wales. Really that's it.

portraitoftheartist Fri 30-Nov-12 20:44:51

My dog came from a respectable breeder but when the vet asked about his background I could see his reaction when I said he was from Wales. There are good breeders in Wales and no doubt puppy farms elsewhere.

Moaning, if you require any assistance on next steps, please PM me. If you prefer, I or close associates can take this further for you, as we regularly do this.

There are several reasons for the prevalence of puppy farms in Wales. The Welsh Govt actually encouraged it shock as "rural diversification". angry Many Welsh politicians, both at Council level and at Welsh Govt level still think there is nothing wrong with it, and that it is a useful method of increasing farm incomes.

Put together this culture which turns a blind eye or encourages the worst excesses, plus easy access to markets via the M4, plus the growth of internet sales which means you don't have to be too close to the market. Add in the Welsh language, which acts as a very convenient figleaf/barrier to inconvenient outsiders asking too many questions, or getting jobs in local authorities. Most of the Welsh authorities that have the biggest puppy farming problems also have the strongest policies on only recruiting Welsh language speakers. The unintended consequence of this is that Council officers who are meant to enforce and police regulations are drawn from a tiny pool, and many are related to and live amongst the very farmers they are meant to be regulating. This affects planning issues as well. It means that there is no such thing for instance as a "random" inspection.

The final nail in the coffin is that Wales was genuinely hit hard by problems with farming e.g. BSE in beef etc and puppy farming offers a fantastically profitable alternative for farmers, for rural vets, and all those associated. I was actually in school with someone who acted as a front family for puppy sales and for a single mum on benefits this offered a relatively risk free and easy way of earning extra cash compared to the alternatives. While it is so financially attractive and easy, it will be v difficult to stamp out.

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