A leading Battersea animal welfare charity is urging prospective dog owners to think twice about how they buy a dog in an attempt to crack down on the ‘horrific and cruel’ practise of backstreet dog breeding.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has today launched a major campaign calling for a clampdown on the many undercover dog breeders that profit from the treatment of these animals.
The charity wants to enforce a ban on the sale of puppies under eight weeks old and introduce a breeding licence requirement for any household producing two or more litters per year.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s Chief Executive Claire Horton said: “Battersea is speaking out to help expose and shame the callous breeders in our communities who are creating far too many unhealthy, unwanted and abandoned dogs all in the name of personal profit.
“At Battersea we see the consequences of this problem every day, with strays coming through our doors, many of whom show signs of in-breeding and others that have been used to produce countless litters before being turfed out on the street.
“These puppies and breeding bitches are often tomorrow’s status dogs and we must put an end to such inhumane, money-making activities.”
Dogs used for backstreet breeding are forced to lead a miserable life. They are frequently kept in cramped, uncomfortable conditions, are often never exercised and used to produce litter after litter, with no thought for their health.
Exhausted and under socialised these dogs are all too often thrown onto the streets once they have served their purpose.
Marjorie, a two-year-old bulldog arrived at Battersea as a stray back in November 2014.
She was bald in places, unable to sit down due to a prolapsed womb, had long curled claws, was withdrawn and showed clear signs of overbreeding.
After a lot of care and dedication from the Battersea staff Marjorie began to come out of her shell and revealed an affectionate nature and now, despite her miserable start in life, she will get a second chance to go to a caring, loving home she deserves.
Shar-pei Polly was found wandering around a park on a cold November day.
The two-year-old was very nervous at first and bore all the physical signs of having been used for excessive breeding.
Her traumatic past had clearly damaged her trust in people and her surroundings.
At first she would try to avoid people and sometimes growl because she felt uncomfortable and didn’t know how to react.
With a lot of care and support, staff started to see Polly’s true personality come out – she was very affectionate and started to relish the attention and loved to be around people.
After 38 days she finally got her happy ending and went to her forever home in Middlesex.
Unfortunately not all these dogs will be as lucky as Marjorie and Polly.
Savannah, a four-year-old bull mastiff, was another stray that came to the charity last year who also showed signs of overbreeding.
She had been savagely beaten by her previous owners and didn’t know how to socialise with other dogs.
Despite all of the help she received at Battersea this poor dog had already been through so much that nothing more could be done for her and sadly Savannah had to be put to sleep.
Battersea ambassador Paul O’Grady said: “I’ve seen first-hand the poor, damaged dogs in Battersea’s kennels that have been bred from over and over again.
“It sickens me to think what these dogs go through before they’re dumped on the streets broken and unloved.
“The awful thing is that backstreet breeders are everywhere lining their pockets from the demand for puppies.
“If there’s one thing we can all do it’s to make sure we think about where we’re getting a puppy from.
“Visit a rescue centre or a registered breeder and help Battersea end backstreet breeding.”
For more information visit www.endbackstreetbreeding.org.uk or tweet your support for the campaign using #MotherAgain.
Pictures courtesy of Andrew McGibbon, with thanks
Paul O’Grady image courtesy of ITV via YouTube, with thanks