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New Campaign Launches Today To Target Cruel UK Puppy Trade

P – Parent – Is the puppy with its mum?
U – Underage – Has the puppy reached the legal age for sale?
P – Papers – Are all of the puppy’s papers available and in order?
S – Sickness – Is the puppy healthy and energetic?

A new public awareness campaign launches today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to target the growing problem of the illicit and cruel UK puppy trade.


The P.U.P.S campaign targets the cruel puppy trade

The puppy industry is booming, but with many UK breeders and puppy smugglers across Europe producing puppies solely for profit, all too often these animals suffer serious illness or behavioural problems later in life. Others, sadly, do not survive.

Many people are unaware that the puppy they are buying may have been farmed in squalid conditions and taken from its mother too soon (before eight weeks of age) before being transported a great distance by dodgy dealers with little or no thought for its health or welfare. The mothers suffer greatly too, being made to produce litter after litter of puppies until they have outlived their usefulness.

IFAW has devised a useful guide, P.U.P.S, for anyone looking to buy a puppy, to ensure they know what to look for to avoid buying an unhealthy, possibly puppy farmed animal.

The P.U.P.S mnemonic, below, is accompanied by a kitsch, online mock advert for a children’s toy, the Suzy puppy. The short film depicts a young girl’s delight at her new toy puppy, but mirroring the grim reality of the puppy industry she quickly discovers that her seemingly perfect pup is in fact suffering a great deal.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “As a nation of dog lovers, none of us wants to be part of the cruel puppy industry. I am sure people will be shocked to find out that many much-loved pet dogs in the UK have suffered a horrible start in life with ill effects that may last through their lifetime.

“In the worst scenarios, owners suffer too when their much-loved puppy quickly gets sick and dies. This is the reality of the heartless UK puppy trade. IFAW always advocates adopting a happy and healthy puppy or dog in need of a home from your local shelter. But for those who wish to buy from a breeder, we believe our P.U.P.S campaign arms people with the information they need to make the right choice.”

P – Parent – Is the puppy with its mum?
U – Underage – Has the puppy reached the legal age for sale?
P – Papers – Are all of the puppy’s papers available and in order?
S – Sickness – Is the puppy healthy and energetic?

IFAW’s P.U.P.S film can be viewed here:

Although the film contains no puppy footage, some viewers may find the content shocking or upsetting, because sadly the puppy trade is just that.

The film will be screened at a parliamentary reception for MPs and key decision makers tomorrow where IFAW will continue to call for legislative change to better protect puppies.

Mansbridge added: “IFAW stands firmly against the large-scale, low welfare commercial breeding of puppies for profit. We want to see an end to third-party sales and the introduction of tougher and better enforced licensing to tackle this cruel trade. We also urge members of the public to remember P.U.P.S and spread the message to others.”

Denise’s story…

This is the account of Denise who bought a puppy from someone who did not care about the welfare of the puppy, provided false documentation and sold a puppy that was sick and dying. She has kindly shared her very personal experience with us.

Denise explained: “Yes it is very difficult to put into words, but I will if it helps stop the vile people who cause such misery or prevents another family going through what we went through.

“We asked about the mother in our initial call and she said it was her brother’s family pet, he had gone on holiday and taken her with them. This lady had the pups (only 2 were left) as they were too young to travel and ready to go to new homes.

“She had pictures of both parents in the pedigree document. With the breeder pack that came with the puppy, you could register for a free bag of food with Royal Canin. I did this the day I brought him. When he was sick the vet asked me to ring the breeder for details of when the mother had her parvo injections. But the mobile number no longer worked.

“I contacted Royal Canin for details of the breeder attached to the registration, they couldn’t give it to me directly, but they contacted the breeder on my behalf when they knew the pup was sick. The breeder agreed that Royal Canin could give me her details. I rang her and she was devastated at what had happened and it was clear she was not involved and they were using her details fraudulently. After speaking to the genuine breeder I contacted the Police and the RSPCA.”

Denise added: “After we lost the pup I could not face having another one, but after about eight months I contacted the breeder who had been so kind to me and she had a litter of pups and offered us one at a reduced cost. We made sure he had all his vaccines before we had him, he is my joy. After a year or so we brought another pup from her, both are very fit and well.

“I don’t know how to protect others from making the mistake we made, as they had genuine sounding reasons for the mother not being there and they had all the relevant breeder information, they even included a bag of puppy food. The puppy was not cheap and I got a receipt, but none of this helped when he lay in the vets on a drip for 24 hours before he died. As this happened so quickly we had no pet insurance and when he died we were totally devastated and then had to pay some very expensive vet bills.”

Denise’s experience clearly shows the extent to which some people will go to sell puppies in the UK and the pain and heartache this can cause. IFAW would recommend that that you follow PUPS guidelines when looking at a puppy.


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