STATEMENT FROM NANCI CREEDON - CERTIFIED DOG BEHAVIOUR CONSULTANT
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Unfortunately Ireland has gotten the infamous reputation globally as the 'puppy farm capitol of the world', and this does not look like it is going to change any time soon.
I would ask the Irish public to open their eyes to this underground hell in which thousands of dogs across Ireland are currently imprisoned.
As a nation we also need to support our local dog wardens and help them carry out investigations.
The legal system absolutely HAS to start taking the crime of animal cruelty much more seriously and start handing out sentences that match the crime committed and taking in to consideration the suffering that these animals go through.
Who is to blame?
Simply put - if people stopped buying puppy farmed dogs, puppy farms would cease to exist - end of.
However, time and time again clients tell me that they just couldn't leave the pup behind. I understand this, I mean, you see an animal in a poor state, you want to do everything you can to stop their suffering. This supports the puppy farm industry, results in mum having to churn out another litter after litter, and lines the pocket of greedy heartless individuals who show these dogs zero compassion.
Walking away, phoning the dog warden, and reporting the puppy farm to the authorities is the right thing to do.
Yes, a well bred dog is EXPENSIVE. However, vet fees trying to keep a poorly puppy alive are also expensive, and heartbreaking, the extra few hundred quid is likely to ensure you are supporting responsible breeders and avoids funding a fundamentally sick industry of puppy farming.
What does it matter?
Dogs that come from puppy farms often have many complex issues that can affect that dog for life. Their health, and the health of their parents is often poor.
Pedigree breeds each have specific inheritable medical disorders which responsible breeders take care to ensure their dogs do not have to avoid creating unhealthy puppies.
Unfortunately puppy farm breeders do not care about the health of their pups - it is not uncommon for puppy farm pups to die shortly after being born.
I work with families who are having behaviour problems with their dogs. The first 12 weeks of a dogs life are the most important weeks of their entire lives. Their personalities have developed by 7 weeks, and if that pup has spent their first seven weeks in a dark dirty cage, they do not get to build confidence, nor learn how to 'understand' the world. I see so many dogs that are petrified of new experiences and have their quality of life severely compromised due to lack of careful socialisation during their early weeks.
The dog's brain is also rapidly developing during their early weeks and months so purchasing a dog from a puppy farm will result in a dog that may have difficulties learning and coping with change.
What can we do?
Firstly - if you are getting a dog, strongly consider rescueing. When rescuing a dog you are getting a dog that often has spent time with a carer who can let you know about that dog's quirks.
When rescuing a dog, you firstly save that dogs life, then also free up space for the charity to take in another dog, so you are saving two lives.
People often think that rescue dogs are 'broken' dogs. This is far from the truth. Rescue organisations often have puppies, pedigree breeds, and happy friendly well trained dogs that simply got unlucky early in life and ended up in a home that got 'bored' of their dog.
When you suspect that a breeder may be a puppy farmer, PLEASE be proactive and report this premises. You can be the difference and help break dogs out of the prison of a small cage where they churn out litter after litter until they are no longer any value.
Puppy farms don't have a flashing sign promoting the fact that they are selling unhealthy pups, so you need to do a little digging.
Puppy farm breeders often offer to 'meet you half way' to save you the journey - though this is often so you don't see where the dog lives.
Always ensure that you visit where the pups live and were born - I strongly recommend only purchasing a pup that was born and spent its early weeks indoors - this helps the dog become familiar with normal sights and sounds such as the hoover, TV and visitors.
The breeder should ideally only breed one pedigree breed as they should be breed specialists and passionate about making their breed better and healthier. If they have multiple breeding dogs they are likely in it for the money.
Responsible breeders will quiz you and will ask to meet you before agreeing to let you have one of their dogs. If they tell you that you can come and take the pup straight away they are likely in it for the money.
What do you think? Have you had any experiences with puppy farms? Have you purchased a dog from a puppy farm and has there been repercussions?
Have your say below.