Puppy ‘Supermarkets’ – just farms in disguise
I don’t know about you but I have always imagined puppy farms to be nightmarish places with dirty, sickly bitches and puppies being kept in tiny, poo smeared cages. Many probably still are or – and this is important – the places where they breed the dogs still are.
However, recently a new kind of establishment was brought to my attention.
This has a very professional website, with lovely pictures of cute puppies playing with toys, an ‘about us’ section detailing their staff and how committed they are. All the pups are ‘vet checked’ and come with vaccinations, wormers, food and even a fluffy blanket to soothe them in the first few days.
Look closely. This particular place had 10 (TEN!) different litters of dogs all ready to go when I looked. A variety of pedigrees (at £500 a pop) and ‘designer breeds (also at least £500 each). So, it’s a nice little earner and you have to ask (although I doubt many people do) where do all these dogs come from?
In not a single picture can you see a bitch. Probably because they are not nearly as photogenic as their babies (their many, many babies). You can see pictures of the (alleged) stud dogs, each with a ‘3 generation’ pedigree but with no mention of the Kennel Club anywhere, these could easily not be worth the paper they are written on.
All the puppies are sold having had a vaccine. Which is good of them. However, with this many dogs it would be madness not to give them something. If Parvovirus took hold, which it easily could in such an intensive rearing establishment, it could wipe out all their little cash cows in just a matter of days.
Some pups even come with a passport! How generous!
Although, that must mean they have already travelled. From abroad. At 8 weeks old or less.
This, quite frankly, is disgusting. Not only have these poor puppies probably journeyed over-land for hours and hours from somewhere in Eastern Europe (a hot bed of puppy production for gullible UK buyers), they were likely removed from their mothers far too early (so they are still in a cute puppy stage by the time they arrive here) and were probably bred in truly appalling conditions to bitches who are suffering terribly.
Which is not quite how they are selling it on the website.
Buying a puppy from a place like this is easy. They always have lots available, it is more convenient that ringing round lots of breeders and probably less awkward than visiting a private home to view them.
BUT do you really think it is a good idea to acquire the newest member of your family, who you will be expecting to be healthy, emotionally balanced, calm, confident, biddable, well mannered, even tempered, good with the children and other dogs, like you would a washing machine from the local ‘pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap’ warehouse?
The environment and care a puppy experiences in it’s first weeks of life has a lasting impact that is life long. They need to be born and raised in a home, exposed to the sights, sounds and different members of family life, and attention given to their individual health needs.
Not to mention that their mother also needs to be healthy and cared for, not treated like a breeding machine, good only for her uterus and mammary glands, and discarded like a pice of rubbish when she is no longer useful. (I wish I was making this up, I really do, but check out this charity who mop up after the puppy farms.)
So, don’t be fooled by slick websites and convenience.
Buying a puppy shouldn’t be as easy as popping down the shops for a pint of milk. They are not impulse purchases. They are living, breathing creatures who will be joining your family for a decade or more.
So do yourself, these pups and their mothers a favour and walk away from the ‘puppy supermarkets’ and into the home of an experienced, responsible and caring breeder instead.