At the end of what has been another busy year for us we’d like to wish everyone a good, healthy and happy New Year ahead and look back on what’s been happening during 2017.

Throughout the year we’ve rescued a lot of dogs from puppy farms of many different breeds. This has proven to be one of the most emotionally exhausting, but also rewarding aspects of our work this year. On the one hand we’re very thankful that we can get these dogs out to safety from terrible lives spent in pens producing pups for the pet trade. But, the very fact that it remains possible – and profitable – for breeders to confine dogs like it, is a sadness and frustration for us after all the years we’ve spent working to expose this cruel business.

We’ve travelled many hundreds of miles on long trips across the country this year bringing these dogs to safety. Their state of physical and psychological health when we get them out never fails to shock us. Most of them this year have needed immediate vet treatment ranging from dental extractions, eye surgery, skin infection treatment and in some cases specialist referrals for serious complications.

One female, unknown to the breeder who got rid of her to us, was pregnant and gave birth soon after rescue. For the first time in her life, she had her pups in comfort surrounded by love and her  pups were born into freedom. This was a definite victory this year, not only for the mum and pups but for the loss of income to the breeder from her litter. A small but meaningful victory especially for the dogs.

We are so very grateful to the dog rescue charities who take all the dogs we save into their care. What a wonderful job they do, not only do they treat and rehabilitate the dogs, but they find the most wonderful homes for the dogs who need, and deserve committed owners. We’re always updated when the dogs are happy in their new homes and to see them moving onto a good life makes the hard work we put in so worthwhile.

Following the long awaited and successful prosecution early in the year of puppy farmer Richard Samuel Jones and the fallout from that case – one we worked on for several years – in early September we had a meeting with Ceredigion Council to present evidence of their failings in regard to breeding dogs in their county. If only we could report that the meeting had a good outcome but regretfully we found them lacking in commitment.

After a Freedom of Information Request in which Ceredigion Council stated that our evidence could not be used because we had broken into a puppy farm, we pursued this blatantly untrue accusation, and finally the council issued a public apology. We will never let lies and accusations against us stand as a false public record, for to bring the integrity of our work into question potentially damages future work we do on behalf of the dogs. We never break into premises to gain evidence, and unlike many puppy farmers we work within the law – precisely so that authorities like Ceredigion Council cannot dismiss and throw out our evidence. While the public apology and correction for the public record was welcome, of course we would much prefer they apologise to all the breeding dogs that have been let down, and who they continue to fail.

Frustrating as it is to constantly have to deal with people who have responsibilities to the dogs, but who don’t seem to share the kind of commitment the public quite rightly expects, we continue to try and work with them for the good of the dogs under their care.

Amongst some of the visits we have done this year, was a puppy farm in Ceredigion and as is depressingly common, we found dogs in horrible conditions. We secured our evidence and reported to RSPCA and Ceredigion Council. We followed up and were told that the RSPCA gave advice to the owner and conditions were said to improve.

Some weeks later we returned to check again on the dogs only to find the kennels empty. Thirty dogs
had disappeared and were very likely moved onto other puppy farms.  This is tough to witness and be aware of. The suffering of the dogs seen up close is terrible and to know that while one kennel may have been emptied, the dogs misery had just moved on to somewhere else is heart breaking in the extreme. This really has to stop. It has to be the case that dogs will be seized and saved from a life of misery when evidence is provided, as soon as the opportunity arises. We will keep doing what we can to expose these abuses wherever we find them and hope that those with the power to change things, use that power properly for the dogs.

While there are many difficult, frustrating times doing what we do out in the field, it’s very pleasing to see so many organisations doing more than ever to eradicate the puppy trade. There does seem to be more cooperation and multi agency work going on, this is to be welcomed.

In early Novemember we were invited to the Scottish SPCA Conference with the aim of tackling the multimillion pound puppy trade and illegal import of dogs to the UK . It was very encouraging to hear what SSPCA are doing, and planning and we look forward to seeing things progress in Scotland. Likewise in England with the new licensing and pet breeding and selling regulations the Government are due to introduce during 2018.

In the meantime, we wish you all a happy new year and thank you for all your support, without which we couldn’t do what we do for the dogs.

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