Scandal of Sedated Puppies with Umbilical Cords Still Attached Entering UK in Thousands

Dogs Trust is calling on the Government to take immediate action to address the illegal importation of puppies into Great Britain, after an undercover investigation discovered smugglers across Central and Eastern Europe continuing to abuse the system.

The UK’s largest dog welfare charity is urging people to contact their local MP via the Dogs Trust website to insist that the government revise inadequate legislation to put a stop to this horrific trade.

Undercover footage revealed a vet in Lithuania selling sedatives to allow puppies to be smuggled across the British border. Puppies as young as four weeks old were also transported with their umbilical cords still attached during a cramped 1,000 mile, 30-hour journey across Europe.

In another shocking case, puppies were observed vomiting and another eating their own faeces during a journey in a packed mini-van from Lithuania. Confined to pet carriers stacked amongst other packages in the back of the van with no air conditioning, and outside temperatures of 25 degrees, the puppies were given water just twice and not fed at all.

Vets in Poland and Lithuania were also filmed falsifying pet passports and faking rabies vaccination records, enabling underage puppies to slip through the net without the correct paperwork as part of the third undercover investigation by Dogs Trust.

Paula Boyden, veterinary director for Dogs Trust said: “These shocking cases clearly show that urgent action is needed to stop the puppy smuggling scandal. It remains as serious an issue for animal welfare and public health in 2017 as it did in 2014, when our first investigation highlighted the devastating effects of the 2012 changes to the Pet Travel Scheme, which effectively invited corrupt dealers to traffic underage puppies into Great Britain without the required treatments.

“The number of prosecutions is far too low and the lack of visual checks at ferry ports and borders is unacceptable. We want to see stronger deterrents including prison sentences for those caught trafficking puppies. To highlight the flaws in the system, we smuggled a fake dog ‘Charly’ though the border twice – once at Eurotunnel and once at Dover – after no visual checks were made.

“The government must revise pet travel legislation when the UK leaves the EU and ensure that puppies entering this country are healthy, not underage and are not being brought in to sell on to unsuspecting buyers via a scheme meant for non-commercial use.”

Puppies are bred in large numbers, often in horrific conditions in Central and Eastern Europe by corrupt breeders who are continuing to exploit the demand for these desirable breeds in Great Britain. They are  brought into the country illegally at a young age in order to appear ‘cuter’ to buyers, with desirable breeds such as Pugs, Dachshunds, English and French Bulldogs making up 82% of those intercepted at the border.

In 2016 alone, 275,876 dogs travelled to Great Britain on the Pet Travel Scheme; a non-commercial system allowing animals to travel easily between EU Member States without undergoing quarantine. The highest number of puppies intercepted as part of the Dogs Trust Puppy Pilot arrived from Hungary, Poland and Lithuania with Latvia, Slovakia and Romania also predominant. Of the puppies seized, more than 95% of puppies rescued by Dogs Trustwere deemed too young to travel and 6% sadly died due to poor health, malnutrition and dehydration.

Paula continues: “Following two previous investigations in 2014 and 2015, we launched our Puppy Pilot scheme. Through this, and with the help of APHA, Border Force and Kent Trading Standards, we have funded the quarantine costs of over 500 illegally imported puppies and found them new homes through our rehoming centres.

“Until Dogs Trust stepped in, seized puppies were at risk of being put to sleep or turned away at the borders.”

Dogs Trust has released an animation to highlight the plight of a smuggled puppy, Charly, as he undertakes the perilous journey to Great Britain. To watch and share the animation, as well as emailing your local MP to support DogsTrust’s campaign to help transform the lives of illegally imported puppies visit www.puppysmuggling.org.uk.

Television and radio presenter Dermot O’Leary is backing the campaign and says: “As a dog lover myself I was horrified to learn that puppies are being smuggled into Great Britain in such terrible condition. I fully support DogsTrust’s campaign to increase awareness of the puppy smuggling scandal.”

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French Bulldog Most Desired ‘Designer Dog’ to Buy Online…

French bulldogs are the most searched-for breed for sale online, new figures released today by Gumtree and the RSPCA reveal.

As new figures show there were more than 66,000 searches for the fashionable breed in just one month (February 2017) on the popular classified online marketplace, closely followed by Labradors and pugs, the RSPCA is highlighting the risks and realities of buying puppies on the internet.

The figures also reveal that the use of online websites to sell and rehome dogs has exploded within the last decade as Gumtree recorded a 785% increase in the number of dogs being listed on its site in Great Britain in the past 10 years (2007-2016)*.

Teaming up with Gumtree, the RSPCA has warned buyers to take care when looking for dogs online as the internet can provide the perfect marketplace for the unscrupulous puppy trade which puts profit over welfare.

“These figures are hugely concerning as they show the sheer number of people using the internet to buy and sell dogs. These are living, sentient creatures, which are being traded as easily as a second-hand car or a piece of furniture,” Justine Williams, from the RSPCA, said.

“While classified websites, if used responsibly, can be an effective method of advertising for responsible breeders and rescue organisations, sadly, far too many people abuse the internet and this has led to many animal welfare issues arising.

“The web provides the perfect marketplace for unscrupulous breeders and dealers to advertise puppies without arousing suspicion. And traders are finding clever and cunning ways to fool not only the buyers, but also the websites themselves.

“The RSPCA has found that 87% of calls it receives on puppy trade issues are those where the puppy was bought online.”

Gumtree’s research shows that in just one month (February 2017), almost 10,000 listings were posted on the site advertising dogs, while there were more than 286,000 searches by prospective buyers for ‘puppies for sale’. And over a year, 204,182 adverts for dogs were posted on the classified site.

“Whilst most people have safe and successful experiences rehoming dogs on Gumtree, there are a minority of unscrupulous breeders and dealers who put profit ahead of the health and welfare of the animals,” Morten Heuing, general manager at Gumtree UK, said.

“We take the welfare of animals very seriously and work hard to ensure our site is a safe place to find pets in need of rehoming. Our dedicated safety team takes steps to make it as hard as possible for illegal traders to operate on the site. For example, we do not allow ‘wanted’ ads in our ‘Pets’ category and we delete any ads we believe are encouraging or indicate signs of animal cruelty. If users have concerns about an ad on our site, they can use the ‘Report an Ad’ button on our website and our safety team will then investigate it.

“Furthermore, Gumtree works closely with the RSPCA and the Pet Advertising Advisory Group

(PAAG)*** to help educate users on how to buy pets safely and responsibly. Gumtree’s own Pet Advice Hub includes lots of useful advice for people looking to buy a new pet or find a home for a pet they already own.”

Top ten searched breeds

Based on data from Gumtree (February 2017)

Search term Number of searches
French bulldog 66,439
Labrador 57,771
Jack russell 55,013
Pug 48,296
German shepherd 47,406
Chihuahua 47,110
Dachshund 44,341
Pomeranian 37,690
Yorkshire terrier 35,829
Shih tzu 33,109

The most searched for breeds included pugs, chihuahuas, dachshunds, Pomeranians and Yorkshire terriers, each attracting more than 35,000 searches. The RSPCA fears the soaring demand for these fashionable breeds is fuelling the puppy trade as demand drastically outstrips the numbers coming to market via legitimate and responsible sources.

Last year, the UK’s largest and oldest animal welfare charity saw its busiest year tackling the underground puppy trade, receiving more calls than ever from people reporting questionable breeders and dealers.

The RSPCA is seeing a steady rise in the number of complaints coming in about the illegal puppy trade and, in 2016, dealt with 6% more calls than the previous year, and 132% more than five years before**.

RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs, who leads the charity’s special investigations into the puppy trade, said: “There’s huge demand for certain breeds of dogs that have been popularised and, as responsible breeders struggle to keep up with demand, underground breeders and traders are filling the gap in the market and are offering buyers the chance to buy puppies at cheaper prices and without waiting lists – often with disastrous consequences.

“This is the price of poor puppy breeding – buyers faced with sick and dying puppies who need intensive treatment or lifelong behavioural support; a surge in these breeds coming into the care of rescue centres from people who did not do their research before taking on a dog that requires a lot of time and commitment; and an increase in the number of these breeds being abandoned either because, as puppies, they didn’t sell or became poorly, or as breeding stock they couldn’t produce litters anymore. Organisations like the RSPCA are left picking up the pieces, and the animals are paying the ultimate price – often with their lives.

“That’s why we’re urging families considering getting a puppy over the summer holidays to be cautious when choosing who and where to buy from and – as hard as it may be – to walk away and contact the RSPCA or the local authority if something doesn’t seem right.

“Anyone looking to buy a puppy should use the Puppy Contract to help ensure they are buying a happy and healthy dog.”

If you’re concerned about a breeder, please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999. And to help the RSPCA continue investigating the illegal puppy trade and rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming dogs saved from puppy farms please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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England’s Puppy-buying and Puppy Dealing Hotspots Revealed

The RSPCA today reveals that the underground puppy trade is booming with more calls than ever before from people reporting questionable breeders and dealers.

The UK’s largest and oldest animal welfare charity is seeing a steady rise in the number of complaints* coming in about the underground puppy trade. In 2016, the RSPCA dealt with 6% more calls than the previous year, and 132% more than five years before – 87% of those calls came from people who purchased the puppy online.

“We urge anyone thinking of buying a puppy to be extremely careful when they’re choosing what type of dog to buy, where to buy from and who to buy from,” RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Richards explained.

“It’s so important to do lots of research not only into the type of dog you want and the kind of care he needs, but also into any potential breeder that you’re considering going to.

“Today, particularly with the rise of puppies being advertised and sold online, it’s becoming more and more difficult to tell the responsible breeders apart from the unscrupulous ones.

“We would encourage anyone who is thinking of getting a puppy to use the Puppy Contract to help ensure they buy a happy, healthy dog.”

New figures from the RSPCA reveal England’s puppy farming hotspots (based on the number of calls relating to the puppy trade in 2016), with Greater London coming out on top, closely followed by Greater Manchester.

  1. Greater London (7.6% of all calls = 280 calls)
  2. Greater Manchester (7.3% = 269)
  3. West Midlands (5.4% = 198)
  4. Kent (4.6% = 168)
  5. West Yorkshire (3.8% = 141)
  6. South Yorkshire (3.7% = 136)
  7. Essex (3.6% = 133)
  8. Staffordshire (3.2% = 119)
  9. Durham (3.2% = 117)
  10. Cheshire (3.1% = 115)

The charity – working alongside Gumtree – also looked into the areas with the highest number of online listings advertising dogs and puppies for sale – with the results painting a very similar picture to the RSPCA’s findings.

In 2016, 204,182** listings for dogs were posted on the online marketplace in Great Britain. Breaking the listings down regionally reveals the country’s puppy selling hotspots:

  1. London (7.4% of all listings = 15,052 ads)
  2. Manchester (5.1% = 10,414)
  3. West Midlands (4.6% = 9,428)
  4. West Yorkshire (4.1% = 8,388)
  5. County Durham (3.4% = 6,863)
  6. Tyne & Wear (3.1% = 6,398)
  7. Nottinghamshire (2.8% = 5,706)
  8. Kent (2.7% = 5,423)
  9. South Yorkshire (2.5% = 5,189)
  10. Essex (2.4% = 4,966)

“These statistics reveal the scale of the online puppy selling market and it’s very concerning,” Lisa added.

“We want all sellers to put the welfare of their dogs and puppies ahead of everything else but, unfortunately, there are many dealers who care only about their profits at the expense of the animals’ health and welfare.

“While classified websites, if used responsibly, can be an effective method of advertising for responsible breeders and rescue organisations, sadly, far too many people abuse the internet and this has led to many animal welfare issues arising.

“As well as the classified websites, like Gumtree, working with us to crackdown on these dealers, we also need the public’s help to stamp out this underground trade. So please take care when buying a puppy. We know it’s hard but if you’re concerned about anything when you visit a breeder, walk away and call the RSPCA and your local authority.”

“Whilst most people have safe and successful experiences rehoming dogs on Gumtree, there are a minority of unscrupulous breeders and dealers who put profit ahead of the health and welfare of the animals,” Morten Heuing, general manager at Gumtree UK, said.

“We take the welfare of animals very seriously and work hard to ensure our site is a safe place to find pets in need of rehoming. Our dedicated safety team takes steps to make it as hard as possible for illegal traders to operate on the site. For example, we do not allow ‘wanted’ ads in our ‘Pets’ category and we delete any ads we believe are encouraging or indicate signs of animal cruelty. If users have concerns about an ad on our site, they can use the ‘Report an Ad’ button on our website and our safety team will then investigate it.

“Furthermore, Gumtree works closely with the RSPCA and the Pet Advertising Advisory Group

(PAAG)*** to help educate users on how to buy pets safely and responsibly. Gumtree’s own Pet Advice Hub includes lots of useful advice for people looking to buy a new pet or find a home for a pet they already own.”

RSPCA stings on organised puppy selling networks have uncovered criminal gangs making up to £35,000 a week by selling dozens of puppies – often fashionable breeds and designer crossbreeds. And the charity has rescued more than 1,200 from puppy farms across the country in the past four years – but knows this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you’re concerned about a breeder, please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999. And to help the RSPCA continue investigating the illegal puppy trade and rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming dogs saved from puppy farms please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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Keeping Your Retriever Risk-Free This Summer

The second worst thing about the record-high summers we seem to get year after year is trying to get to sleep at night. All that tossing and turning, the sheet sticking to your skin thanks to the glue-like sweat you seem to perspire. It’s annoying beyond words. The worst thing, however, is the risk summer weather can pose to your Labrador Retriever.

That is why we have been busy putting our eyes to research and fingertips to keyboard to come up with some essential tips, tricks, and bits of advice when it comes to beating this year’s summer heatwave.

Early Morning Or Late Night

Labrador Retrievers need more exercise than a professional rugby player with his eyes on the World Cup. However, you need to be a little cautious about this during the summer months. That is why we highly recommend you tweak your habits and start exercising your excitable pup first thing in the morning and the last thing at night when the air is much cooler. The other thing we would kind of urge you to do is ease off the exercise a bit. Lower the intensity a tad, or cut each park session down slightly; anything to make your dog that much more comfortable this summer.

Don’t Forget About Fleas

No one loves summer as much as fleas. Not even your tan-obsessed best mate who refuses to wear sunscreen. The humidity and warmth just speed up lifecycle no end (we’re talking about the fleas), not to mention that we’re coming off an incredibly mild winter too. That is why you need to be on the case more than normal. You don’t have to change your lifestyle, just some flea collar reviews, talk to your vet, keep an ear to the ground and make sure you have the right medication handy, just in case. Flea infestations are a much higher risk and that means your precautions need to rise too.

Dehydration Annihilation

Keep encouraging your dog to drink and remember to carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go, especially if you are going for a walk. That is the bottom line on this topic, although it is also worth understanding that different types of Labrador Retriever have different needs. If you have a Lab with a black or chocolate coat, for example, they may need to be kept more hydrated than you realize because they will absorb the heat far quicker than you. So make sure they drink and make sure you sprinkle water on them should you feel the need to. You may not realize, but dogs cool from the bottom up, so if you are spraying them, spray their feet and belly.

Digging Is Good

Dogs weren’t always house trained animals. They were wild once. What’s more, those instincts on how to keep cool and avoid the heat haven’t disappeared. What they do in the wild is dig. It isn’t out of annoyance, it is what they do to hunt for food, give birth to their litter and, yes, stay cool. So to help your dog embrace its natural need to escape the heat, find a shady spot where it is okay to dig a hole and let them paw away. Your Labrador will thank you big time.

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Celebrating National Pet Remembrance Day

The third national Pet Remembrance Day, where people across the UK will remember beloved pets that have died, is to be held tomorrow (Wednesday, 5th July.)

Pet Remembrance Day provides an opportunity for people to celebrate the lives of pets and the increasing number of ways in which we can commemorate them. A Twitter chat will take place on Wednesday using the hashtag #PetRemembranceDay for people to show their support and share thoughts and photos of deceased companion animals.

Pet Remembrance Day, which is organised by 3D printing specialists Arty Lobster (www.artylobster.com), is once again proud to support The Oldies Club (www.oldies.org.uk) – a national charity, which rehomes dogs aged seven and over in need of homes. The charity is particularly in need of new foster carers: www.oldies.org.uk/get/fostering-dogs.

The national day of remembrance comes as a new Populus survey, commissioned by the founders Arty Lobster, of 2,000 adults revealed that young adults aged 18 to 24 are the most likely (59%) to remember a beloved deceased pet by holding a ‘memorial event’ – compared to just three in ten of those aged 65+ (29%).

Among all respondents who currently own a pet, just over two fifths (42%) said they would be likely to grieve for pets in this way. Women appear slightly more likely than men to hold a memorial event for their pet (44% vs. 40%). Single pet owners are more likely than pet owners who are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting to mourn their pet (48% vs. 40%).

People living in the Midlands are the most likely (35%) to hold such an event while 30% of pet owners in Northern Ireland say they would. This was followed by London (28%), Yorkshire (27%) and the South East and Scotland (each on 24%) while the North East ranked joint bottom with Wales at 19%. The aggregate figure for England is 28%.

Lars B Andersen, CEO of Arty Lobster, said: “Pet Remembrance Day is a special day when people can collectively remember departed pets and celebrate the importance they play in our lives.”

Best-selling author and speaker Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL (Certified End of Life and Pet Loss Grief Coach and Founder of Center for Pet Loss Grief, LLC) explained: “Pet Remembrance Day is a time for outwardly expressing your deepest love for your pets that have reached the end of their lives.

“Outwardly mourning is a way of saying good bye in a very healthy way by celebrating the life of your beloved companions. Paying tribute to those animals that touched your heart with a pet funeral, memorial, or remembrance will help you heal your loss all the while keeping the love of your companion close by.”

 Entertainer, and Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Damon Scott, said: “Only last year, my darling rescue dog Sophie gained her angel wings, and so I experienced the extreme grief and sadness which the loss of a beloved pet brings. Pets are family and they deserve to be remembered and to have their lives celebrated like any other family member.”

Animal welfare campaigner Lisa Garner lost her beloved rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lucy in December last year. Lucy became a social media star with a 70,000 Facebook following and a leading light in the campaign against puppy farming.

Lisa’s love and devotion for Lucy speaks of the strength of the human – animal bond. She said: “Lucy was my best friend and soul mate, who depended on me for everything, to lose her was and still is indescribable.  Even now 7 months on I struggle to think or talk about her without crying, on some level it still doesn’t seem real. 

“I guess when we love someone so much the pain we go through when we lose them is just a reflection of that love.  I hope Lucy knew what she meant to me and her friends from all around the world, if the sheer love for Lucy could have saved her when she was so poorly, she would be here today asking for her favourite thing, cake.  Lucy will forever be in many hearts and so terribly missed every single day.”

On Pet Remembrance Day, there are many ways in which people can remember deceased pets, including:

  • A memorial service in a place where the pet liked to walk or play.
  • A living memorial by planting a tree or flowerbed
  • A pet sculpture or portrait featuring the pet or their image printed on a coaster or other accessory
  • A scrapbook with photos and other reminders of the pet.
  • An online memorial with photos of the pet
  • A poem about the pet
  • Donating to charities like The Oldies Club or volunteering at an animal rescue centre

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Making Your Pet Feel Comfortable

As a pet owner you are tasked with the very important job of ensuring that your pet is as comfortable as it can be. It is your responsibility to make sure they are never left wanting in the comfort department — and you cannot shirk on this responsibility, not ever. However, you should know that different types of pets have different comfort demands. Read on to find out just a few of these differences as well as ways on how to make your pet, no matter what it is, as comfortable as can be.

Comforting Dogs

When it comes to comforting man’s best friend, first of all you need to protect them as best you can from loud noises. Simply, dogs never have liked and never will like loud bangs. This means that nights where fireworks fill the sky are your dogs worst enemy. During these times you should try to, yourself, act as calm and as nonchalant as possible around your dog. Doing so, instead of snuggling and treating them will go a long way to making them feel normal, and ultimately less scared of the bangs outside. Also, as a dog owner you should always keep an eye out for the most common illnesses that can strike your poor pooch. And when you notice something may be wrong, you need to act upon it quickly.

Comforting Cats

Although cats may not always give their true feelings away with ease, they still feel discomfort. They still feel anxiety. And to calm an anxious cat, you can to do a number of things. You can cover their eyes in order to force them to be more attuned to their other senses. You can gently rub their scruff (the skin that connects their head to their neck) to remind them of their time as a kitten. And you can simply sing them a song.

Comforting Fish

Making any fish that you own feel comfortable may seem like a silly notion, but they are living creatures and therefore need their own special brand of comfort. And the main thing you can do to induce this comfort is to ensure that one, their tank is not too over inhabited and two, that it is cleaned our regularly. When it comes to over inhabiting your tank, a good rule of thumb to work by is that for every 1 cm of fish you own you will need 1 litre in the tank. So, if you own 17 fish that each measure up to 3 cm, then 50 litre tanks are what you should be looking to invest in. By doing so you also give yourself less tank to clean too — this means that it will be easier for you to keep atop of the the upkeep of it. Even though your fish can’t give you any sort of feedback as to what they do and do not like specifically, like dogs and cats can, you still need to do all you can to ensure they are swimming through their lives comfortably.

Comforting your pet, no matter what type of animal it is, is a responsibility you simply cannot shirk on. So, don’t shirk on it!

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New Research into Devastating Disease Affecting Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College have found that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels affected by syringomyelia and Chiari-like malformation, have an irregular, “drunk-like” gait, measured in variation of gait characteristics, and a wider distance between the thoracic limb paws resulting in a wider base of support when walking.

Cavaliers are sweet and adorable little dogs that are loved by the public. Sadly, a significant proportion of cavaliers are predisposed to a painful and debilitating spinal cord condition known as syringomyelia. The condition is characterised by fluid-filled cavities called syrinxes within the spinal cord which, as they grow, cause pain and neurological deficits. Dog breeds that are miniaturised and short-nosed are more prone to syringomyelia, but Cavaliers are believed to be the most commonly affected breed.

The study used a simple and novel technique for quantifying gait parameters using a grid on the ground made of electrical tape and two high-speed video cameras. These gait changes are similar, even when less severe, to dogs with spinal cord disease in the first part of the neck and cerebellar disease in humans. The study compared Cavaliers to Border Terriers.

The Cavalier has an increased variation of the gait parameters stride length, paw distance on the same side and distance between the front paws when walking. The increased variation of walking gait demonstrates a need for wider based support to increase stability, similar to young children and foals and humans with cerebellar ataxia and spinal cord diseases in the neck. Our results add to the body of evidence showing that by breeding for paedomorphic features, dogs have a puppy-like gait in addition to inadvertent alterations of behaviour, skull and brain morphology.

As humans, we have a preference for infantile (baby-like) features and this unconsciously biases our selection of companion animals as pets. The Cavalier shows paedomorphic (baby-like) behaviour and infantile facial features with large eyes, and a large flattened forehead. Selecting for paedomorphic traits changes the morphology of the skull and has selected for an oversized cerebellum in the cavalier. The cerebellum coordinates balance and locomotion from sensory inputs via the spinal cord and brain.

Professor Holger Volk, Head of Department, Clinical Science and Services and specialist in Neurology and Neurosurgery said: “We know the cavalier King Charles spaniel can be affected by pain associated with syringomyelia and this study highlights that coordination of gait appears to be affected as well.”

Co-author of the study and Neurology Resident at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Dr Emil Olsen, added: “A breeding selection for paedomorphic features and these inherent abnormalities of the cerebellum we already know the cavalier King Charles spaniel has, and formation of syrinxes, not only causes pain but also appear to affect how they walk. This could be a simple monitoring tool for long-term health and assist breeding of sound dogs.”

As well as Syringomyelia, Cavaliers suffer in high numbers from an inherited heart condition called Mitral Valve Disease (MVD). Over 30,000 people have signed an online petition asking the Kennel Club to only register puppies from Cavaliers screened for these conditions. To view and sign the petition, visit the following website: https://www.change.org/p/the-kennel-club-stop-registerin-g-cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-puppies-unless-their-parents-are-mri-scanned-and-heart-tested

The research paper is published in BMC Veterinary Research DOI: 10.1186/s12917-017-1077-5

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Essential Considerations When Adopting A Rescue Pet

It’s almost impossible to have an interest in animal rights and not realise that adoption is better than buying a new pet. This is a reality that stands up to scrutiny, also. These are thousands upon thousands of unwanted pets currently in shelters and rescues up and down the country. Often, these animals will have done absolutely nothing wrong – just victims of circumstance from their owners.

If you have a home to offer a new pet, then it just makes sense to consider whether you can offer a forever home to an animal desperately in need of it. According to the RSPCA’s Facts and Figures, around 50,000 animals are rehomed every year in the UK.

If you have made the decision to adopt rather than shop, then you can give yourself a pat on the back. For the most part, adoptions are almost always successful – but they don’t just happen in the blink of an eye. For an adoption to really work out, there’s a few extra steps and things you need to be aware of.

Rescue Animals Are Often Timid

To an extent, can you blame them? Their lives have been turned upside down, so it might take them a few months to settle into their new surroundings and feel at home. It’s important to remember that you should be especially careful with rescue animals. They’ve been through something rough, so try and be understanding if they’re not immediately full of beans and clinging to your ankles. They’ll get there – it might just take them a little bit longer!

If your new pet is timid, then it’s important to just let them be exactly that. Ensure they have somewhere they feel safe to use as a bolthole, and never remove them from it unless you have extremely good reason to do so. They’ll grow in confidence in good time.

Rescue Animals Can Take Awhile To Adjust

There are a few maintenance tasks we have to do for our pets. Worming is important; as is bathing them if they get messy. Perhaps the most important is flea treatment. As the article on Spot on Flea and Tick Treatments for Cats and Dogs from Farm and Pet News makes clear, getting ahead of the life cycle of fleas is essential for keeping your new furry friend comfortable. It’s a monthly task that you and your adopted pet are going to have to adjust to – and that might take awhile.

If your new friend has been in a shelter for a long time, they might have forgotten behaviours that would be typical for most household pets. They might not take too kindly to having a flea treatment or their claws clipped; even though these are common and unavoidable tasks. You can’t skip them even if they’re a source of discomfort for both you and your pet, so be ready for it to take awhile for them to get back into the swing of domesticity.

Rescue Animals Can Be Prone To Running Away

It is often suggested that when you move into a new house, it takes cats and dogs a few weeks to get used to their new home. This period should be even more extended for rescue animals, especially when they first come to live with you. Give it a couple of months of nothing but supervised outside visits, until you are 100% confident they see your home as their new territory.

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Young Millennials ‘Most Likely’ to Commemorate Pets’ Lives

Young adults aged 18 to 24 are the most likely by far to remember a beloved deceased pet by holding a ‘memorial event’, according to a national survey of over 2,000 adults.

Six in 10 (59%) young adults aged 18-24 say they would hold such an event, compared to just three in ten of those aged 65+ (29%).

The survey commissioned by 3D pet sculpture specialists Arty Lobster (www.artylobster.com) in the run up to national Pet Remembrance Day on 5th July asked: ‘Thinking about any pets you currently own, when your pet(s) dies, how likely or unlikely are you to hold a memorial event – such as scattering their ashes, or reading a poem at a favourite place – for them?’

Among all respondents who currently own a pet, just over two fifths (42%) said they would be likely to hold a memorial event for them in the event of their death. Just over one in twenty (7%) were unsure, while half (50%) said they would be unlikely to do so.

Women appear slightly more likely than men to hold a memorial event for their pet (44% vs. 40%).

Those with older children (aged 16-18), or with no children at all are less likely to hold a memorial event in the event of any of their current pets passing away (39% and 41% respectively). Whereas just over half (53%) of those with younger children aged 5-10 are likely to do so.

Single pet owners are more likely than pet owners who are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting to hold a memorial event for their pet (48% vs. 40%).

People living in the Midlands are the most likely (35%) to hold such an event while 30% of pet owners in Northern Ireland say they would. This was followed by London (28%), Yorkshire (27%) and the South East and Scotland (each on 24%) while the North East ranked joint bottom with Wales at 19%. The aggregate figure for England is 28%.

The likelihood to hold a pet memorial event also varies across social grade with those in the highest social grade being more likely than others to hold such an event (AB; 46% vs. C1; 41%, C2; 40% and DE; 41%).

Lars B Andersen, CEO of Arty Lobster, who helped launch Pet Remembrance Day in 2015, said: “It’s interesting that young millennials are most likely to hold a special event to remember a pet. I can only imagine that this group is maybe less buttoned up than previous generations and more in touch with their emotions, which has probably been amplified by the boom in social media and the rise in ‘collective’ grieving…

“Pets are like family, and this national day is an important day when people will take time out, even if just a few moments, to remember deceased pets. A growing part of our customer base is served by people looking for that lasting memento of their pet.”

Best-selling author and speaker Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL (Certified End of Life and Pet Loss Grief Coach and Founder of Center for Pet Loss Grief, LLC) explained: “Outwardly mourning is a way of saying good bye in a very healthy way by celebrating the life of your beloved companions.

“Paying tribute to those animals that touched your heart with a pet funeral, memorial, or remembrance will help you heal your loss all the while keeping the love of your companion close by. Pet Remembrance Day is a great reminder for you to get in touch with your feelings of loss and learn how they are going to help you throughout your life.”

Entertainer, and Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Damon Scott, said: “Only last year, my darling rescue dog Sophie gained her angel wings, and so I experienced the extreme grief and sadness which the loss of a beloved pet brings. People who have never had pets, especially dogs, sometimes don’t understand that they too are precious members of our families and can negatively downplay this heart-felt grief by saying ‘oh, it’s just a pet!’ but that is so wrong.

“Pets are family and they deserve to be remembered and to have their lives celebrated like any other family member. Pet Remembrance Day provides space for people to commemorate the lives of lost pets by doing something special like giving to a charity such as The Oldies Club, or something as simple as thinking about the happiness their pet brought to their lives, and sharing a photo of the pet on social media. I will be remembering my beautiful Sophie this year.”

Animal welfare campaigner Lisa Garner lost her beloved rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lucy in December last year. Lucy became a social media star with a 70,000 Facebook following and a leading light in the campaign against puppy farming.

Lisa’s love and devotion for Lucy speaks of the strength of the human – animal bond. She said: “Lucy was my best friend and soul mate, who depended on me for everything, to lose her was and still is indescribable.  Even now 7 months on I struggle to think or talk about her without crying, on some level it still doesn’t seem real. 

“Lucy endured so much at the beginning of her life, but had nearly 4 years of as much love and fun that I could give her.  She had the qualities that so many people strive for, she had a zest for life, didn’t let her past dictate her future and during her short time here helped many, which is a comfort to me.

Lisa added: “I guess when we love someone so much the pain we go through when we lose them is just a reflection of that love.  I hope Lucy knew what she meant to me and her friends from all around the world, if the sheer love for Lucy could have saved her when she was so poorly, she would be here today asking for her favourite thing, cake.  Lucy will forever be in many hearts and so terribly missed every single day.”

On national Pet Remembrance Day (Wednesday 5th July), a Twitter chat will take place using the hashtag #PetRemembranceDay for people to show their support and share thoughts and photos of deceased companion animals.

On Pet Remembrance Day, there are many ways in which people can remember deceased pets, including:

  • A memorial service in a place where the pet liked to walk or play.
  • A living memorial by planting a tree or flowerbed
  • A pet sculpture or portrait featuring the pet or their image printed on a coaster or other accessory
  • A scrapbook with photos and other reminders of the pet.
  • An online memorial with photos of the pet
  • A poem about the pet
  • Donating to charities like The Oldies Club or volunteering at an animal rescue centre

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Hero Dog Wins “Animals’ George Cross” for Bravery

Owner Jordan Ash celebrates with PDSA Gold Medal recipient, Diesel

A heroic Staffordshire Bull Terrier who saved his family’s lives during a terrible house fire was presented with the “Animals’ George Cross” at a special ceremony in London on Wednesday.

Diesel was abandoned tied to a tree at 9 months old, and then spent several months at the Animals in Distress Rescue Centre in Ipplepen before being rehomed by the Ash family from Dartmouth. Diesel went on to save all of the family’s lives in May last year when he alerted them to a fire sweeping through their house in the middle of the night.

Diesel has been awarded the PDSA Gold Medal, also known as the Animals’ George Cross. Instituted in 2001, it rewards acts of animal bravery and exceptional devotion to duty, and is the highest honour for outstanding animal bravery in civilian life. Diesel was awarded the prestigious medal on Wednesday by Princess Alexandra at a special ceremony in the City of London.

Diesel’s heroic act

In the early hours of the morning on Saturday 28th May, Jordan and the rest of the Ash family were all sleeping peacefully when Diesel alerted them that something was wrong. Diesel stirred from where he was sleeping at the foot of Jordan’s bed, and began burrowing and scratching at the duvet, barking and licking Jordan’s face – Diesel was on a mission to wake him.

Realising something was wrong, Jordan got up and opened the bedroom door, to see a wall of flames half way up the stairs, only six feet away from him. He pushed his Mum and Dad’s bedroom door open, and ran in to wake them up.  

Jordan’s Dad Chris climbed out of the spare bedroom window and together they helped his Mum Tina to get out onto the kitchen roof. Jordan ran back to get Diesel, who was now hiding under the bed terrified. The whole upper storey of the house was now completely filled with smoke, and the fire was advancing quickly. Jordan almost fainted when picking up Diesel but managed to get himself together, and ran out with Diesel. The fire was so close as they ran past that Diesel’s whiskers were singed in the flames.

Jordan passed Diesel out of the window to Chris, and then jumped out onto the kitchen roof, from where they were all able to climb down and wait for the Fire Brigade.

The next day the family took Diesel to the vet to be checked over, and thankfully he was pronounced completely fine.

The house was completely gutted by the fire, which had been caused by their freezer catching fire. Everything was gone including the staircase, and the whole house had to be refitted.

Jordan Ash, Diesel’s owner said I like to think it was his way of repaying us for rescuing him. Staffies have such a bad reputation but he has the most lovely, placid nature. Diesel undoubtedly saved our lives that night, without him I wouldn’t be standing here today and I will be forever grateful.”

A spokesperson for Animals in Distress said “We are all so proud of Diesel, and over the moon that he has won this award.”

Watch the PDSA video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dgMU4OD_bI

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