In the run-up to Christmas, the dog welfare charity is urging people to stop and think about where the puppies they might buy come from. The charity is calling on the public to support its #StopKeepingMum campaign by always asking to see the mother if buying a puppy.
“The reality that is seldom talked about is that these dogs are often locked away in shocking conditions, many times in darkness,” said Dogs Trust Ireland director Mark Beazley. “They are left without positive human interaction or socialisation and kept as breeding machines, producing litter after litter for years on end and then callously discarded when they get too old.
“We felt we had to highlight to the public where a lot of these puppies you see online actually come from and what atrocious conditions their mums are forced to endure to produce what often end up as unwanted Christmas presents.
“We are asking members of the public to always ask to see the mum and the puppy interacting with each other and to always be concerned if excuses are made as to why you cannot.”
Dogs Trust said that one dog, Honor, who arrived after the first compulsory puppy farm closure in Ireland was one of the most frightened dogs the charity had ever seen.
Puppies from puppy farms often have physical and behavioural problems as a result of poor breeding. People should be extremely selective about whom and where they buy a puppy from by carrying out as much research as possible, the charity said.
Impulse buying of pets online creates an enormous risk of attracting unscrupulous breeders. According to the charity, most reputable breeders do not sell dogs through newspaper adverts, pet shops, carparks, or through the internet.
Unreputable breeders or middlemen often pose as members of the public selling “puppies from unplanned litters” in newspaper adverts and online.
The most online advertisements for dogs appear in November, in the run-up to Christmas, according to the organisation. Those seeking to buy a dog online should ensure the website is approved by the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group.
The charity said the public should be concerned if excuses are made as to why both mother and puppy cannot be seen together, and to always check the paperwork. People should also be suspicious if the details of a previous owner have been removed or disguised.
If you suspect a puppy has come from a farm don’t buy it, the charity urged: “You may be saving a dog but you’ll be fuelling the puppy farm trade to continue this vile trade.”
The average dog lives for 13 years, costing on average €10,000 over its lifetime depending on the size of the dog.
“We want to remind people of our slogan ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’,” Mr Beazley said.
“Very often homes can be quite hectic during the festive season and it may not be the best time for a dog, especially a puppy, to be introduced into a home where the normal routine is disrupted.”
“In the New Year, when the Christmas festivities have died down, we would encourage those ready to make the commitment to consider adopting a dog from your local rescue centre, local pound and Dogs Trust.”