Battersea welcomes new regulations to tackle cruel backstreet breeding

Leading animal welfare charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home welcomes new government regulations which will clamp down on breeders who see dogs as nothing more than a way to make money.

The new regulations, which came into force on October 1st will mean any breeder producing three or more litters a year must apply for a licence through their local council and prove they meet basic standards of animal welfare.

The new laws will also prevent breeders from selling puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age to pet shops and other dealers.

Battersea’s Deputy Chief Executive, Peter Laurie, said: “Relentless breeding of dogs in dirty, squalid conditions takes place in neighbourhoods up and down the UK. Battersea and other rescue centres are often the ones left to pick up the piece when breeding bitches are deemed no longer useful and are dumped on the streets. We hope the regulations will help to clamp down on the cruel practice of forcing these dogs to live in horrible conditions while giving birth to litter after litter.”

One dog to suffer at the hands of this industry is Marjorie, a two-year old Bulldog who was taken into Battersea after she’d been found dumped on the streets in a dreadful state.

Despite her young age, Marjorie had clearly given birth to many lotters and was unable to sit because of her prolapsed womb. She was nursed back to health by Battersea and the loving care of her foster carer, and now owner, Hollie Oppe.

Marjorie became the face of Battersea’s End Backstreet Breeding Campaign in 2015, which called for a clampdown on the many undercover dog breeders that put profit before animal welfare.

Battersea is also hoping that the new regulations will make it more difficult for unscrupulous breeders to sell dogs for vast profit on the web, which is a key route to market for many backstreet breeders.

Under the new laws anyone who breeds more than three litters a year will have to show their licence number online, to legally sell their puppies.

Online pet sales have become a massive industry and so far this year Battersea has taken in over 280 dogs that were originally bought online.

Peter Laurie added: “When you’re buying online, it can be impossible to pick out the genuine seller from a backstreet breeder or someone who’s acting as a front for a puppy farmer. Many of these dogs bought online that then come into Battersea have been given up because owners discover they have unexpected behavioural or medical issues they can’t cope with.

We urge people thinking of getting a new pet to visit a rescue centre first. Here at Battersea, we complete in-depth behavioural and medical assessments on every dog that comes through our doors, so people know what they’re getting when they take their new pet home.”

To find out more about Battersea’s End Backstreet Breeding Campaign, you can visit https://www.battersea.org.uk/support-us/campaigns/end-backstreet-breeding