Five News exclusive: Puppy farm cruelty

Tuesday August 4, 2009 Polly Whitehouse

An exclusive Five News undercover investigation has revealed appalling conditions at puppy breeding farms that supply one of the UK's biggest pet shops.

Secret filming by our Crime Correspondent Jason Farrell showed dogs kept in small, dark pens with no access to outside runs.

Some of the animals clearly had behavioural problems from being kept in a confined space. Some circled on the spot; others cowered in the corner of their cells.

Looking at the footage, TV vet Marc Abraham described the animals' living conditions as the worst he had ever seen in the UK.

"There is no care for these dogs whatsoever, apart from keeping them alive to breed more puppies. It is sick," he said.

Dogs4Us is a well known pet superstore with branches in Leeds and Manchester.

Celebrities who have purchased their dogs from the chain include Wayne and Colleen Rooney.

We spoke to a number of customers who found their puppies were not as healthy as they first thought.

Adele Lewis bought a West Highland Terrier for her 10-year-old son Robert from the store.

Jaka always seemed to be a rather depressed dog and four months after the family bought her, she was suddenly taken ill and had to be put down.

Vets told Mrs Lewis the dog had a defect from birth caused by its mother being over-bred.

The dog originally came from one of the farms filmed by Five News.

When shown the footage, Mrs Lewis said: "It's shocking but at least now I know where he came from and why this happened."

In a statement Dogs4Us said: "All the puppies we purchase are from registered breeders who are also licensed by the local authority, who also carry out inspections of their premises."

Our Crime Correspodent Jason Farrel has written a blog about his experience. Read it here.

[SIZE=2]Statement from [SIZE=2]Llwynfallen Dog Breeders[/SIZE][/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]We categorically deny that we have neglected any of our animals or caused them to suffer any distress or ill health. The welfare of all our animals is of paramount importance to us and all of our animals are regularly inspected to ensure that they are fit and healthy. If any animals require treatment, we ensure that they receive the required treatment promptly and without delay.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]We have been breeding dogs for many years and at no stage have we received any complaints regarding the welfare of our animals. We are registered breeders and take our responsibilities as breeders very seriously.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]

[SIZE=2]Statement from Dogs 4 Us[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]As you are aware we are a licensed premises with the Local Authority and therefore, subject to announced and unannounced visits by them. We also have announced and unannounced visits from the RSPCA of which both bodies are more than happy with our premises and the service we provide. We dispute your comments and regard this as scare mongering. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]All the puppies we purchase are from registered breeders who are also licensed by the Local Authority who also carry out inspections of their premises. Licensed breeders have an annual inspection to obtain their licence.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]All are puppies are vet checked on the day of arrival and sold with a 6 month guarantee against any congenital defects no other breeder or establishment gives a guarantee). We also give a 7 day guarantee on any puppy which would cover a settling in period. This guarantee covers against any dietary problems, etc. Again, this help and advice would not be available from anyone else, so to suggest that we would sell pups that are unwell and to give a guarantee is ludicrous. There is also a vet in daily attendance (again this does not happen anywhere else). [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]We do not have any influence on what happens outside of our 6 month guarantee and we always advice our customers to consider Pet Insurance for their new pet to cover for any eventuality that may possibly arise. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]To conclude we have lots of happy customers that return to us again and again as they are delighted with the service we provide which is unique. Our premises are open 7 days a week for public inspection, unlike breeders where you have to make an appointment to inspect. [/SIZE]

Here is the article from there website.