Puppy farms can be in any type of premises, under the law, even a domestic house, used for commercial breeding is considered a pet shop. Virtually every county in the UK will have a puppy farm within it. The majority of puppies that are sold in England via the internet or pet shops come from puppy farms based in Wales, Ireland, and Eastern Europe. The puppies are often taken from their parents to soon, and certainly, well under the recommended eight weeks, to be transported by van for many hours through a network of breeders until they finally arrive at your local pet shop or at an ‘Associate’s’ home. Associates are people selling the puppies for a commission.
They may claim to have 'home-bred' the puppies and even have a dog in a basket with the puppies. Ask yourself, is the dog with the puppies interacting with them as a Mother would? or is she a little nervous or reticent, Is she feeding them? Just check, does she have milk? You need to trust your instincts here if anything doesn't look or feel right - walk away and do not offer to buy.
Breeders and associates are only interested in the sale. They will try to get you to buy, they may have 'very good' reasons that seem plausible but don't be fooled. A genuine breeder will be happy to invite you back for a second viewing - not pushing you for the sale.
The puppies will have had no parental conditioning, will not be microchipped, vaccinated or often, even wormed. Fluke is very common amongst intensively bred puppies and can cost the new owner up to £4000 in vets fees to clear.
How can these farms be legal? - Puppy breeders do require a licence from their local authority and should receive an annual inspection, but often a single inspector will have a large area and high volume of farms to cover with some, inevitably, being missed. Breeders are also given advance notice of any intended visit, allowing them to ‘clean up’ or ‘move on’ mums and puppies they do not want to be seen. Sadly, it is too easy for an unscrupulous breeder to avoid the ‘safeguards’ that currently exist.
It’s claimed that some Puppy Farms have an income of thousands of pounds a week, unregulated and quite possibly, untaxed. Big money - with minimal risks.
A £100,000 puppy farming case in 2016 resulted in a suspended sentence and costs totaling £5500 - and the person wasn’t banned from keeping animals for life.
Clearly, the law needs to be strengthened.