Don’t fuel the battery farm trade

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As a leading dog charity this week warns that the public is being duped into buying ‘farmed’ animals, an Irish man has spoken out about this barbaric practice.

Diarmuid Scullin, who runs the www.k9friendsunited.com social networking website for dog owners, said the law surrounding puppy farms is full of loopholes and not tough enough to properly tackle the problem.

According to the Dogs Trust 95 per cent of canine owners say they wouldn’t buy a dog from a puppy farm, yet 900,000 may have done so without even knowing.

The welfare charity has pointed out that the public is being duped into buying from puppy farms, inadvertently fuelling the cruel trade and potentially landing themselves with huge vet bills.

In a recent survey, UK dog owners were asked if they would consider buying a dog from a puppy farm. And although almost 95 per cent said no, when asked where they had got their dog from, a startling15.1 per cent admitted they had got them from an advert in the newspaper, the internet, a pet shop or a pet superstore, all outlets often supplied by puppy farms.

Irish man Diarmuid Scullin has condemned the law in Northern Ireland, describing it as ‘crazy’.

And he said unless our MLAs and councillors take action against puppy farming, the issue will still be a topic of discussion this time next year.

Current legislation, which is outdated, means that it is not an offence to keep an animal in conditions that are likely to cause suffering. At present, action can only be taken in Northern Ireland if cruelty is apparent and demonstrable.

Diarmuid said despite an update to the law in England and Wales, the Northern Ireland Executive has failed to introduce a similar change here and we operate under an ‘antiquated’ law which is unacceptable.

“This means that animal welfare organisations have to prove the animals have already suffered before they can move in and close down the premises. It means a waiting game – until the animal shows evidence of suffering – or dies,” he said.

Diarmuid also posed the question of whether the dog sellers ever declare their income to the inland revenue.

“So what can you do to help stop these puppy farmers?” he said. “The most effective thing is pretty simple – don’t buy a puppy from a pet shop, newspaper advertisement or the internet, or off the back of a lorry. Hit them where it hurts – in their pockets.”

And he also suggested that councils play their part in putting an end to this cruel trade by issuing sellers with a registered number subject to checks on their animals and premises.

“Anyone selling dogs or pups through newspapers ads, pet shops, the internet or from any other source and this would apply to breeders as well, that they would be required to apply to the council who in turn would issue them with a number. And anyone found advertising the sale of dogs or puppies without this registered number would be liable to a £1000 fine for each pup they have. Only until such drastic measures are taken like this to stop this disgusting and cruel practice, we might as well be whistling in the wind,” said Diarmuid.

In the past six months Dogs Trust, which has a Rehoming Centre in Ballymena, Northern Ireland has seen an increase in calls from concerned members of the public on the subject of puppy farming, many from dog owners whose pets have suffered illness and in some cases died as a result of having been bred at puppy farms.

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