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Argh! Pet plan/puppy farmer vent

(17 Posts)
wildfig Sat 17-Oct-09 18:51:54

Have never actually started a thread, but am so furious, I have to get this off my chest!

I've been looking at insurance for my two dogs and PetPlan was recommended by all and sundry for their general helpfulness/understanding of animals/more ethical stance. So, having done the online quote (and recovered from the shock), I browsed the site, and clicked on their 'Find a pet!' link, to look at the ickle puppies.

The one litter of bassets seemed slightly on the cheap side to me (£425, compared with the usual £700+ from breeders) so I googled the phone number provided... to discover a whole list of other breeds available from the same address. Poms, Yorkies, "pug crosses", bassets, and most worrying, "Dulux dogs". Another 5-second search of the woman's name, Loretta Toye/Bastin, revealed that she's a known puppy farmer/dealer, who's been prosecuted for selling sick animals, and keeps re-emerging under different names, despite regular Trading Standards investigations.

If Petplan are going to have this puppy search feature on their website, and funnel potential owners towards it, shouldn't they at least have a cursory look at the sort of people advertising on it? I'm assuming they're just linking to it from an external search facility but even so... OK, there's no way of guaranteeing how reputable a breeder is - even the KC accreditation scheme is flawed - but if someone has convictions, FGS... There's even something on their own site warning you not to buy from puppy farmers!

Poor little pups. sad

wildfig Sat 17-Oct-09 18:58:18

PS Obv, they have a disclaimer to say the breeders register directly, and that haven't inspected the premises, can't be held responsible for wonky pets, etc but I'm not sure that's good enough in this case.

beautifulgirls Sat 17-Oct-09 19:44:48

I would report this directly to Pet Plan with your concerns to be honest - this does not sound typical of them as a company in my opinion and I am guessing they may well not be aware of the history behind this "breeder". You will be doing others a big favour if you help the company to remove such a person from their books.

wildfig Sat 17-Oct-09 20:16:19

Have done. Whoever opens the email on Monday will be hit by a wave of terrible second-hand PMT.

Vallhala Sat 17-Oct-09 22:13:30

Bloody good for you Wildfig. If I don't read anything from you asking me not to by tomorrow night I'll post the details on to a few animal welfare contacts (without your own details or input of course, just what you have discovered) and ask them to email Pet Plan too and shall do so myself - there's strength in numbers.

wildfig Sat 17-Oct-09 23:05:13

Well, have a look yourself, vallhala - I'd like to imagine i've got it wrong, but I've checked a few other breeds, and she's also advertising Pomeranians.

tearinghairout Sat 17-Oct-09 23:10:06

Good for you, wildfig. It pains me that people breed puppies indiscriminately for money when there are hundreds - thousands - of lovely animals out there who need homes. I hate to think what happens to the pups they don't sell...

elastamum Sat 17-Oct-09 23:27:07

I agree. i have just been given a labradoodle that was returned to the breeder by someone who bought it and then didnt want it when it got to 10 months and was not longer cute and cuddly. She is beautiful but i think she has been locked in a shed or something as she is desperate not to be left and not properly housetrained. she got out the other day and when I caught her she cowered as she expected to be hit sad

Vallhala Sat 17-Oct-09 23:55:04


This is what I have discovered on the advertiser, who goes by the names Clare Toye, Loretta Toye and Loretta Bastin. I have only Googled for 5 minutes and havenn't yet even Googled her names, just "Runwell Kennels".

PetPlan NEED to be told of this, by as many people as possible.

Runwell Kennels in Wickford, Essex, have individual adverts for these dogs as well as ponies:

Cavalier KC
Shih Tzu
Bichon Frise
West Highland White
Pomeranian Cross
Cocker spaniel

There are also several single ads for a variety of dogs, which are:

Labradors – various colours
Cocker Spaniels
Bassett Hounds
Old English Sheepdogs
Shih Tzu
Yorkshire Terriers
Cross breeds sometimes available

Furthermore there are the following two reports on the establishment:


Warning Hot Dog Kennels is now called Runwell Kennels, same premises, same owner.

Hot Dog Kennels are licensed by Chelmsford Borough Council as a pet shop. Puppy Alert would like to ask why the Council re - issues their pet shop licence each year

allowing them to continue trading when they are in contempt of Court for selling sick puppies? That is a question that Chelmford Borough Council appear unprepared to


The puppies are sold from a private property at the end of an unmade road. The owners will often suggest that they will meet a prospective purchaser at Wickford railway

station to hand the puppy over. Do not be fooled and accept this offer. They may prefer that you did not visit the premises, the location is considered by many who have

visited to be in an 'undesirable' area.

Puppy Alert asked Breedersonline to remove this trader from their web site but have declined to do so. Essex Trading Standards have been advised accordingly.

Below is a link to BBC Inside Out programe who featured Hot Dog Kennels. The BBC Inside Out team were asking the same questions having first exposed this trader 14 years

ago. Why is she still allowed to trade and sell sick puppies?

It is important that you read the Beware notice on the link page as the seller is asking all purchasers to sign a discaimer before purchase. This will take away all your consumer

rights after you leave the premises having signed the document! tml


Sale of 'sick animals' continues
Dog bought by undercover buyer
The puppy bought by the undercover buyer

An Essex puppy trader is still selling sick and dying animals despite a court order banning her from doing so, a BBC Inside Out investigation has revealed.

The landmark case was brought by Essex Trading Standards in 2004.

It bound Loretta Bastin and those acting for her not to sell puppies of an unsatisfactory quality.

However, puppies from her premises continue to be found to suffer from a range of problems including the lethal and highly infectious parvo virus.

The business, which trades as Dobe Farm, in Runwell near Wickford, and online as Hot Dog Kennels, still holds a full pet shop licence.Problems at Dobe Farm were first

exposed by BBC East in 1995.

It found puppies were being sold with false pedigree certificates and with vaccination certificates that vets said were worthless.

Trading Standards took Ms Bastin to court five years ago using the Sale of Goods Act, which had never been used in a case of this kind before, in an attempt to stop her

trading in sick animals.

Heart defect

However, complaints about Dobe Farm have not stopped.

Emma Berham, from Chingford in east London, bought a puppy from Loretta Bastin in 2007, but said the animal fell ill almost immediately.
Loretta Bastin
Loretta Bastin was taken to court by Trading Standards in 2004

She said: "We took her to the vet straight away as an emergency. He said she had a serious heart defect.

"Buying Jess was like buying a car with no engine and she should never have been sold in that condition."

Vanessa McNeice also bought a puppy from Dobe Farm in September 2008.

She took her dog to the vets and found it had ear mites, worms and the deadly parvo virus.

Ms McNeice said: "Then they said he had septicaemia and all his organs were shutting down and they gave him blood transfusions, plasma and, the poor little mite, he just

didn't stand a chance."

Undercover buyer

Both women were refunded the cost of the puppies by Ms Bastin, but were left with hefty vets bills and the upset of losing their pets.

In December 2008, posing as buyers, undercover researchers returned to Dobe Farm and bought a Pug/Cavalier King Charles cross puppy.

The animal was examined by a vet from dog welfare charity The Dogs Trust and found to be suffering from ear mites and a misshapen jaw that was likely to cause feeding


"You do tend to get undershot jaws in Pugs and Cavaliers but this is really quite excessive," said Dogs Trust vet Chris Laurence.
The vet said the puppy was not fit for sale
The vet said the puppy was not fit to be sold

"Her teeth will rot much more quickly because they don't meet properly so she will have difficulty chewing."

He also judged the puppy to be so emotionally disturbed that it would never recover.

He said it was unsuitable to be homed with children and should not have been put up for sale.

Ms Bastin, who is also known as Loretta Toye, would not say where she sourced the puppies she sells.

Puppy farms

Experts say dogs sold by Dobe farm show the classic symptoms of animals raised in so-called puppy farms where they are often kept in crowded conditions, have little or no

human contact, and often suffer from physical and mental health problems.

A number of Dobe farm customers told Inside Out they contacted Trading Standards with their complaints but said they were dissatisfied with the response they received.

Essex Trading Standards would not comment on why no action appeared to have been taken.

Chelmsford Borough Council, which issues the pet shop licence, also refused to be interviewed but told the BBC: "We have made inspections… and are currently investigating

a potential breach of the licence.

"The council is now working closely with Trading Standards and the RSPCA which could result in legal action being taken against Ms Bastin."

Ms Bastin refused to be interviewed on camera.

The BBC Inside Out programme screens on BBC1 in the East at 1930 BST on Wednesday, 14 January.

Thread is on this link, Dog Trader on TV Today - Wednesday WATCH IT

(NB the website above gives the link mentioned)


I'm now off to Google Clare Toye, aka Loretta Toye, aka Loretta Bastin.

Vallhala Sun 18-Oct-09 00:03:17

This says it all, from the BBC:

thesunshinesbrightly Mon 19-Oct-09 12:05:14

I actually feel sick watching that video, poor little puppies makes me so sad and angry!!!!!

LittleRedCar Mon 19-Oct-09 12:12:45

Sorry if this has already been suggested, but shouldn't the dog warden in Essex be told too?

Vallhala Mon 19-Oct-09 13:55:09

I've emailed the council (Basildon) (no reply as yet), cc'ed to the county Councillor (no reply as yet), called the RSPCA who, surprise surprise "can't do anything unless I can show that an animal is suffering", emailed the RSPCA seconds before calling them, who replied today telling me to call the bloody helpline and report it ... but... but... but I did and you told me.... ah, forget it!

I've sent it to animal-related organisations across the UK, posted it on a couple of dog rescue forums....

.... and I'm knackered!

wildfig Tue 20-Oct-09 07:52:36

Blimey, Vallhala, well done. Am still waiting for some response from Petplan; if I don't hear by the end of today I'm going to have a word with their press office.

LittleRedCar Tue 20-Oct-09 09:25:22

I think the dog warden is the only person who can really help - IME the RSPCA are bit toothless, and Petplan are unlikely to do more than stopping her adverts - under that name, anyway.

Might be worth a call to trading standards, and the BBC too?

wildfig Tue 20-Oct-09 09:28:56

Well, since the Daily Heil have already done one feature exposing her trade in teacup chihuahuas, that was going to be my next port of call...

LittleRedCar Tue 20-Oct-09 09:31:11

Good idea - as Shiney would say, the Daily Heil could use their powers for good as well as evil wink

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