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To think that the answer to getting rid of puppy farms and thus millions of unwanted dogs is to ban the buying and selling of dogs for money?

(133 Posts)
wannaBe Mon 04-Jan-16 11:34:44

We see thread after thread on here about people who inadvertently, and sometimes not so inadvertently buy puppies from unscrupulous breeders who are only in it for the money. The trade in designer mongrels crossbreeds is big business, with people paying sometimes up to £1500 for a dog just because it looks cute, and the breeders raking in the cash from their several bitches which they breed to the point of exhaustion before getting rid of them.

And even the breeders who only breed a litter or two still make money from the exchanges. And let's not pretend that just because someone is KC registered they aren't in it for the money.

There have been all sorts of suggestions as to how this can be resolved, make breeders be registered/only allow them to breed certain numbers a year being just a couple. But in truth there is no way to police this and once a dog is pregnant there is no way of doing anything humane about it, after all, no-one would advocate destroying a fourth litter when the breeder had already bred three that year, for instance?

For me the answer is simple. If it was simply illegal to buy and sell puppies then the puppy farms would have no incentive to exist. If the law was very clear that by advertising dogs for sale you were breaking the law, no-one would actually pay money for puppies, and the sites like gumtree would not be allowed to advertise them.

The exception could be made for e.g. The cost of vaccinations/micro chippinG so that genuine breeders wouldn't be out of pocket, but actually, if you were breeding for the good of the breed the food etc would still be the breeder's responsibility.

Take the prophet out of puppies and the need to breed so many of them would no longer exist.

Rinoachicken Mon 04-Jan-16 11:38:51

So what would happen to all the accidental puppies? Or puppies who couldn't find homes/be given away but too expensive to be kept? I fear most would be drowned or otherwise dispatched...

FairyFluffbum Mon 04-Jan-16 11:42:08

It would never be policed..

It's illegal to buy, sell and breed pit bulls but people still do it.

From April every dog needs to be microchipped.

Again unless they regularly take it to the vets no one will police it.

ReallyTired Mon 04-Jan-16 11:43:05


What is needed is a license to sell or own a dog. People need to think carefully before taking on a pet. Dogs vary a lot in size and it makes sense to choose a breed which you know you can cope with. For example you would not want a Great Dane if you have a house with small garden. Certain breeds are suited to particular roles.

The pedigree dog market needs to be controlled to prevent inbreeding and to make sure the dogs are well looked after. This all costs money and should be paid for.

wannaBe Mon 04-Jan-16 11:45:04

The same as happens to them now. No-one said owning a puppy or giving it away would be illegal, but putting a price tag of £££ would.

There will always be accidental puppies, although tbh there is very little excuse for not having your bitch neutered. But the thing at the moment is that there are thousands and thousands of puppies being born purely for the purposes of making money. those puppy farmers wouldn't be breeding those puppies if they knew they no longer had an income from doing so.

PhilPhilConnors Mon 04-Jan-16 11:46:15

I think there needs to be much tighter restrictions on breeding, and a massive effort to phase out puppy farms, but this will rely on buyers being more sensible, and I can't see that happening any time soon!
Locally, experienced dog owners tend to rehome rescue dogs or stick to certain breeds. Anyone else buying a dog will look for a yorkiepoo or cockerpoo or something like that.
The number of people I know whose young designer dogs have major issues is unbelievable, but it's always a fluke, or bad luck. Nothing to do with crap breeding hmm

AdjustableWench Mon 04-Jan-16 12:02:30

I think your solution would be effective, but unfortunately I don't think Parliament would pass legislation to that effect. Breeders of pedigree animals tend to argue vociferously that their work is legitimate to improve the breed, and that the real problem is non-pedigree breeding. In my view in doesn't make sense to restrict a gene pool, but humans have been breeding all sorts of animals since prehistoric times and I think it would be very difficult to get people to stop.

Another difficulty is that outlawing the sale of puppies wouldn't stop people failing to neuter their animals and then just giving away the puppies (which might then be abandoned) - asking for a token donation is seen as a way of trying to ensure that someone who takes a puppy is serious about taking on the costs of keeping a dog. There are also concerns that people who take free puppies will use them for dog fighting - I don't know how widespread the practice is though.

In Australia they're trying to tackle the problem of cat overpopulation by making breeders register and making everyone else spay/neuter and microchip their kittens (not sure if they're doing the same with dogs). I don't know how well it's working but it looks like a compromise that could work.

We probably need a change in cultural attitudes rather than legislation. I think we're moving in the right direction now that puppies are rarely sold in pet stores, but ironically one difference from decades ago is that it's no longer morally acceptable to drown unwanted litters in the nearest river, which used to be considered a 'solution' to some of the problems of overpopulation. Obviously I'm glad that people are no longer routinely killing baby animals, but we do need a new solution to the problem of irresponsible owners with unwanted litters. Maybe the Australian model could work in the UK?

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Mon 04-Jan-16 12:33:17

The trouble would be if dogs are giving away free is that a lot of dog fighters will have an easy free supply of 'bait'

Currently dogs are being stolen off the streets. But if pups was to be giving away then these people will have a lifetime of risk free bait.

hesterton Mon 04-Jan-16 12:39:15

I don't think there's anything wrong with someone breeding dogs for money as such - it takes a huge amount of work to do it properly. It's the ones who don't do it ethically, kindly or safely who are the problem.

I think the opposite - make dogs really, really expensive to buy as pups - maybe there would be led demand and supply would have to fall - people would become much more choosy and expect higher levels of care and thought to have gone into the breeding. Might empty a few rescues too.

TheBestChocolateIsFree Mon 04-Jan-16 12:46:40

I more or less agree. I'd make it illegal to sell dogs without a licence which would be expensive, subject to inspection and readily revoked by eg RSPCA inspectors. The licence fee could be waived for rehoming charities. Yes there wouldn't be the "making sure they're serious" factor of a charge but IMO making people know that they could never benefit financially from letting their bitch have a litter (without taking the risk of criminality which most people would rather avoid) would result in far more neutering and fewer puppies being born.

Lancelottie Mon 04-Jan-16 12:52:18

Are the puppy farms the ones producing the unwanted dogs, though? I don't have a dog, but when we've speculated about it and looked at rescues and ended up with another cat instead , they all seem to be chock-full of greyhounds and staffies, not yorkiepoos, cocker spaniels and the like.

PhilPhilConnors Mon 04-Jan-16 12:56:27

I think licenses and mandatory puppy, training and good citizenship classes would help things (at the new owner's cost). This would hopefully lessen the number of untrained, I socialised dogs going into rescues, and would also lessen the number of owners who have no intention of doing anything responsible with their dog.

My local no-kill rescue is amazing, but is half full with dogs who can only be rehomed within a criteria that will rule out most homes eg. No children at all, no other dogs, no cats, very experienced owners, and so on. They are dreadfully short of experienced fosterers too, as those experienced enough to take on these dogs already have a foster dog so can't take on another.
All because of irresponsible owners.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 04-Jan-16 13:08:40

You used to need a licence to own a dog. While I'm generally on the libertarian side I think it's a good idea - as it is the country is full of fuckwits who think it's fine to keep a malamute in a small apartment and walk it for 20min once a day, and the pounds are overflowing with dogs bought by idiots to live in conditions that don't suit them and then ditched when the inevitable behaviour problems got too annoying.

Reintroducing dog licences would address the problem much better than something unenforceable than banning the exchange of money for puppies.

DianaTrent Mon 04-Jan-16 13:15:28

I agree something should be done. I think education is the main thing. It is incredible how many people have no idea how to spot a puppy farm. I don't know how to get through to them all, though. I share the concerns about quiet disposal to avoid costs and free puppies going for bait if they couldn't be sold. Licensing for breeding with inspection by the local authority is a good idea. Perhaps they should bring back the dog licence, to be acquired before getting a dog, and use the fees to fund the local dog warden to inspect and certify local breeders.

toboldlygo Mon 04-Jan-16 13:43:34

I think the emphasis should be on education for would-be purchasers, really, as so many of the things you mention are already in place if people know to look for them.

For example, the Kennel Club already have litter restrictions in place - only four registerable litters per bitch, with further limits on how many of these can be via c-section. Their assured breeder scheme, though it still has its limitations, can filter out a further few puppy farm types. Council licences have to be obtained over a certain number of litters per year, so anyone holding a council licence is a volume breeder and alarm bells should be ringing. Breed clubs are generally quite open about necessary health testing in pedigree breeds and for individual dogs the results of these tests can be verified against KC records using the myKC website.

There is no legislating against idiots who decide they want a designer dog now, right this minute, won't spend a few minutes doing research and think that Preloved and Gumtree are reputable places to start searching.

PirateSmile Mon 04-Jan-16 13:50:57

The problem of puppy farming has been around for a long time. The increase in cross breeds is a very new phenomenon. There are huge amounts of so called pure breeds fuelling the demand for puppy farms.

EponasWildDaughter Mon 04-Jan-16 14:09:24

I think, sadly, that the majority of many people are outwardly in agreement about the awfulness of puppy farms - and yet are happy to jump in line for a ''cheap puppy from the bloke who knows the guy in the pub - lovely genuine puppies - accidental mating''.

Conveniently forgetting that week they're definitely all for the tighter regulation of dog breeding.

PhilPhilConnors Mon 04-Jan-16 14:10:04

I always thought the KC assured breeder scheme wasn't fit for purpose. Happy to be corrected though.
They limit the number of registerable litters, but if the breeder decides to add in a litter or more of designer crossbreeds, which don't need to be registered, that's a loophole that the KC cannot have any control over.

Chattymummyhere Mon 04-Jan-16 14:11:52

Everyone selling puppies should be declaring the money received. However you can then also use your receipts for things that cost. Breeding and raising puppies costs a lot more than a vaccination and microchip. In fact a cost of a c-section for a breed that only produces 1-2 pups would wipe out all monies "made". What needs to happen is that everyone files the costs/profits to hmrc like your meant to and are fined if you do not that would stop a lot of those who do the minimal for the bitch and pups but sell for a lot.

When filing even show entries and petrol costs/electric for heat pads etc can all be written off agasint any "profit" made.

you can easily spend near £1,000 on health tests alone before going to stud which again for a good one costs £400-£750 sometimes more in certain breeds. Not every breeder makes money from it.

littlefrenchonion Mon 04-Jan-16 15:28:56

I do see what you are saying, however - when you take a close look at a lot of the UK legislation relating to animals, much of it is actually worded to protect humans financially and legally; animals are generally regarded as property with value. I'm not saying I think this is right necessarily but the government just doesn't have the time, money or inclination to worry about such things - to an extent I can appreciate this. Changes to legislation are very costly and will be prioritised based on the positive human impact such changes would make. A pet is, after all, a luxury and a lifestyle choice and not up to the tax payer to fund. When you think about it, all pet owners are part of the problem, myself included!

I actually think the only answer, truthfully, is education (which falls to pet loving people, via charities, to fund).

It's a tricky one.

Wolfiefan Mon 04-Jan-16 15:33:24

I too think licensing is the future.
Wish I knew how to stop people desiring weird cross breed mongrels with no thought to how they might actually turn out.

hmcReborn Mon 04-Jan-16 15:40:04

I am enjoying your typo about taking the 'prophet' out of it grin

Am afraid that I think your idea is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and there are other effective ways of dealing with this issue.

If there is no money to be made at all there would be an enormous shortfall of dogs available - and why deny the thousands of responsible dog owners the opportunity to own and love a dog?

My dog's breeder is a highly responsible and thorough breeder who cares passionately about the dogs. She does supplement her meagre income from breeding litters once every 3 years - and why the hell shouldn't she? Its a big commitment and a lot of work when done properly

PhilPhilConnors Mon 04-Jan-16 15:44:19

I liked the prophet typo too.
Made me think of this smile

hmcReborn Mon 04-Jan-16 16:04:22

That's brilliant!

sashh Mon 04-Jan-16 16:09:45

To own an uneutered dog older than six months you should have to pay quite a large dog licence, say £50-£100 a year.

Enough that it is cheaper to neuter than pay the licence. All dogs should also be microchipped and theeir status re neutering logged on the system.

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