Over the years we’ve often been asked about the dog in this photograph. Kitty’s become a bit of an icon for breeding dogs as the picture plainly shows what damage was done to her body by years spent breeding. She was kept by a breeder who supplied the puppy supermarket, Dogs 4 Us.
She was one of the first dogs we were able to take away from a miserable life in a puppy farm. We first met her in 2009 whilst doing undercover work which went on to be shown on Channel 5 and Sky News. (Watch here).
That particular investigation showed where the pet shop Dogs 4 Us sourced their puppies. Dogs 4 Us has over the years been the subject of several news and TV documentaries.
When we met Kitty, she had recently given birth to pups. She was in a licensed Welsh puppy farm. Licensed by Carmarthernshire Council. This is her, in a bare, barren concrete cell with just a plastic basket for a bed, a scattering of sawdust and her 3 pups.
She lived inside 24 hours a day, Kitty never saw the outside world. Our hearts broke as we saw the sadness in her face and suffering of her body. Her coat was matted and dirty, her eyes were clogged thick with gunk.
While speaking to the breeder aka puppy farmer, she told us this would be Kitty’s last litter as she was reducing the number of dogs she kept (she’s still operating and is licensed for 40 dogs). She said we could take Kitty once she had finished feeding her pups.
So a few weeks later we made the long trip back to Wales to set Kitty free. To disguise just how badly matted her coat was, the breeder had shaved it off. All this did though, was to reveal more clearly how broken her body was after breeding all those litters, year after year. Her teats touched the floor, her back was bent. She was a very sad sight indeed when we took her away from that legal, council-licensed puppy farm.
After the footage aired on TV, there was a public outcry and thousands lobbied Carmarthenshire Council. New regulations have since been introduced in Wales, but, as our investigations regularly show, and we routinely report, enforcement is poor and dogs continue to suffer.
While Kitty never lived long enough to make up for all her lost years in that Welsh puppy farm, we’re pleased that today her image lives on as a reminder to everyone who sees it, how much breeding dogs suffer.