The dogs are currently being relocated
A seven-month investigation by the Trading Standards Wales regional investigation team resulted in a multi-agency operation undertaken last week.
The operation saw 15 dogs seized due to serious injury or suffering in the conditions in which they were found, as well as nearly 200 dogs surrendered by an alleged illegal puppy breeder in Wales. The seller’s assets have been frozen under the Proceeds of Crime Act while the investigation continues.
Due to the nature of the ongoing investigations, no further information is released on the action taken by the officers at this stage, suffice it to say that this is a detailed case involving officers of the local authority, Dyfed Powys Police, Veterinary Drugs Directorate, Wales Natural Resources. , RCVS and RSPCA.
The dogs are currently being placed with the support of Dogs Trust, RSPCA, West Wales Poundies and Hope Rescue.
Commentary from Gareth Walters, Trading Standards Wales Strategic Manager for Animal Health and Welfare; “This is a positive outcome for the first of a number of planned operations and is the result of important partnership work supported by the Regional Survey Team on National Trade Standards and the Welsh Government and is essential to support local authorities who would be unable to deal with this level of crime in isolation.
“Unlicensed puppy dealers prioritize profit over animal welfare – they want to generate the maximum profit for the absolute minimum of effort and investment. The trade is attractive because of the large profits, with designer breed dogs averaging £ 2,000 but often selling for £ 5,000 and stallions charging even higher fees. As with other types of illicit trade, those involved often engage in other criminal activities, including the distribution of illegal drugs, money laundering and tax evasion. Dogs are just a commodity for them.
“To tackle this problem we have to work in partnership with other agencies, this is a great example of where relatively little funding in Trading Standards has resulted in a much bigger result.”
Clive Jones from the Regional National Trade Standards Survey Team (Wales) commented; “In recent years, the industry has been infiltrated by unscrupulous individuals, often involved in other criminal activity, who sell puppies obtained from illegal puppy farms. The pandemic has increased demand and subsequently profits and the sharp practices of criminals. The team has done a tremendous job of getting there, but it is still early days in terms of ongoing investigations and bringing these cases to court.
“Impersonating breeders, unlicensed dealers advertise puppies in newspapers, magazines and, most often, online. They attract consumers by promoting the fact that puppies are full pedigrees; however, this does not guarantee the quality. Many consumers then have to pay a high price, both financially and emotionally, for puppies raised under horrific circumstances. When this happens, consumers have little or no chance of receiving compensation, especially since the majority of transactions involving puppies are in cash. “
Trading Standards Wales, as part of the ongoing dog breeding project, is examining a number of proposals for existing legislation and future improvements that can be made to support the legitimate industry in Wales. The first part of this process will see the launch of a .Gov.Wales online information system which will provide a single point of reference for all matters relating to dog breeding in Wales.
It often happens that dogs bred illegally by unlicensed breeders are raised in appalling conditions, susceptible to disease and poor health without proper measures in place. Puppies can be exposed to congenital health problems and may not have been vaccinated properly, for example against rabies, putting the health of other animals and the general public at risk.
Infectious diseases can easily spread in unlicensed puppy farms. One of the most common is parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease that can lead to fatal illness. Little to no attention is paid to the health and welfare of the animals and many are contained in small enclosures meaning they never see the light of day. In addition to health issues, illegally bred dogs can exhibit a range of behavioral issues and miss out on legal requirements that legitimate commercial breeders are required to ensure through socialization and improvement plans.
The more knowledge you have about what to consider when buying a new pet, the more you can protect yourself and play a role in eradicating this cruel practice. If you are considering purchasing a new puppy, consider adopting it from a shelter or finding a legitimate breeder through an insured puppy breeding program and / or Kennel Club United Kingdom.
Beware of online puppy advertisements. A free online tool that encourages responsible puppy breeding and buying called “Puppy Contract” can be used by both dog breeders and anyone considering buying a new puppy. It can be found at The Puppy Contract – for responsible puppy breeding and purchasing.
Anyone considering buying a new puppy should seek advice from their local veterinary practice and use the Puppy Contract to avoid purchasing a breeding puppy. If a seller is unwilling to provide the information listed in the puppy’s contract or allow you to see the puppy interact with its mother, then you should opt out.
If you are concerned that your puppy has been bred as a result of puppy breeding, or if you know of someone who might be involved in unlicensed puppy breeding, also contact Trading Standards at your local council.