Poodles N Pooches Dog Grooming Service in Bromely, West Wickham, Orpington, Locksbottom

Stop Puppy Farms

To most, they're man's best friend and a life long companion, but for some disreputable traders, puppies are simply a commodity to be cheaply and cruelly farmed and sold.   

Disreputable dog breeders, who are usually in the "puppy-farm" business just for the money, can wreak misery and death on the innocent animals that would otherwise be lifelong pets and friends.

Puppies bred commercially, indiscriminately and carelessly are likely to…

  • Develop disease
  • Have temperamental problems
  • Find adjusting to family life hard
  • Be difficult to housetrain
  • Suffer physical defects and have hereditary weaknesses

Think carefully before buying and do not buy the puppy because you feel sorry for it. If you trade with an unscrupulous dealer or breeder, you will be supporting their trade in misery. Every one you buy, another takes it place.  Buying a puppy or dog in good health is vital for its own well-being as well as your bank balance. Follow this advice, and man and dog will be long term friends…

What is puppy farming? 

Puppy farms are like factory farms where Dogs are bred purely for profit.  The Dogs are normally bred too often, many are unhealthy, and often live in unbearably poor conditions.  The puppies are generally removed from their mothers far too early and sent by rail or van to ‘dealers’ or pet shops in the big cities to satisfy the public’s demands.  Many are severely traumatised by the transition, and some do not make it alive.  Do not buy a puppy or a dog from these sources, as they will have had the worst possible start in life, and are far more likely to have health and temperament problems.

Many ‘puppy farm’ puppies come with complete pedigrees, however, a pedigree in itself, is not necessarily an indication of quality.    


Puppy farming is the breeding of Dogs - without concern for their health or welfare - for financial gain.

Unfortunately there are many establishments around the UK practicing this trade and although they often possess a licence, this does not automatically exempt an establishment from being used for puppy farming and many would not pass an in-depth inspection.

Dealers’ are agents for puppy farms.  They buy puppies and sell them on, advertising them in newspapers and magazines, often masquerading as breeders.  If an advert lists more than one breed of puppy for sale, then the person placing it is probably a dealer (but not always).  Ask if you can see the mother with the puppies, and if they make an excuse about why the mother cannot be seen, do not buy a puppy from them. 

Never buy a dog from the back of a van at a motorway service station or from an airport car park, such as Heathrow, as this is how many dealers operate.

Do not buy a puppy or a dog from a pet shop as it is likely to have originated from a puppy farm.  Good breeders would never sell their puppies via a pet shop, despite what you may be told.

Many puppies from puppy farms can develop behavioural or physical health problems due to poor breeding;
Physical conditions often include:

  • skin infections; kennel cough;
  • worms; mite infestations;
  • malnourishment;
  • fleas;
  • timidity;
  • lethargy;
  • diarrhoea,
  • and vomiting.

Symptoms of these may take some time to appear whilst inherited deformities and conditions such as hip
dysplasia, deafness and congenital heart disease may not manifest themselves until the puppy becomes much older.

Behavioural problems arise from the puppy having been denied normal socialisation, or from questionable temperaments passed on by his parents. Puppies who have spent the first five to eight weeks of their life with only their mother or siblings may find the transition into a caged environment in a pet shop or even a normal domestic environment particularly distressing. This kind of reaction can lead to real problems with behaviour in the future which can manifest themselves as aggression or nervousness. Some problems may only come to light months after they are taken home and sadly many Dogs are relinquished for this reason.

Commonly puppies from these establishments are sold through, pet shops, newspapers, notices in shop windows and via the internet.

It is not easy to identify whether an advertisement for puppies is from a ‘farmer’ however there may be tell-tale signs such as: The breeder having many different breeds for sale - most good breeders do not do this; or the breeder suggests meeting for the hand over of the puppy somewhere other than the breeding establishment.

There is a common misconception that if a breeder has endorsement for their puppies such as a Kennel Club or UK Dog Lovers Registration Club certificate, the quality of the puppy is assured. Unfortunately with schemes like these quality control is not assured and it is the responsibility of any potential owner to make adequate checks.

What can you do to help to stop puppy farming?

If you decide to purchase a puppy from a breeder, please consider the following:

• When you have made your choice of breed, contact either your local rescue centre or the breed club secretary for more information, details of which can be obtained through the Kennel Club.

• You should be prepared to put your name on a waiting list for a litter to be born. A well bred puppy is worth waiting for.

• When choosing a puppy, insist on seeing the mother interacting with the litter and if possible, meet the father.

• Make sure that the puppy appears alert, responsive to sounds and that he is interested in you. If you are unsure, contact the local Vet who may be able to advise you.

• Ask your Vet to give the puppy a health check - it should not have fleas or any wounds or discharge. Also enquire as to whether any veterinary treatment has been carried out and if so what it was for and the results.

• Ensure all the relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit the puppy. This may include pedigree and registration papers (although be wary of these as there are many fakes) and the parents’ hereditary screening certificates.

• Request a written agreement that your purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your Vet within 48 hours. Also ask if the puppy will be covered by insurance for any illness during the first six weeks in your care as most good breeders should subscribe to this scheme.

• The breeder should be willing to take the puppy back if your initial circumstances change and written confirmation of this should be given.

• Ask the breeder questions about the puppy’s feeding regime. Good breeders will supply you with a diet plan and some of the puppy’s
normal food.

• Puppy farming will continue until there is no longer a demand for their product. Please do not buy a ‘farmed’ puppy purely because you pity it. If, even after considering all of this, your puppy soon becomes ill or dies you are entitled to ask for your money back. If the breeder refuses you can contact your local Trading Standards Office and lodge an official complaint. Beware that if the puppy is alive, it is required to be returned to the breeder.

What is the law on the breeding and selling of Dogs?

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 stipulates that owners have a duty to ensure the welfare of animals in their care. Under The Breeding of Dogs Act 1991 and The Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 which cover England, Wales and Scotland:

• It is an offence for a bitch to be mated if she is less than one year old.

• Breeding is restricted to no more than six litters in a lifetime and no more than one litter per year.

• The breeder must keep accurate breeding records and puppies must wear a visible means of identity.

• Puppies cannot be sold by a licensed breeder to their final home until they are at least eight weeks old.

• If the breeder produces more than five litters per year for sale then they are legally obliged to acquire a licence (obtained from the Local Authority). Before the licence can be granted, the premises must be inspected by a Vet and a Local Authority Officer.

• It is an offence for a licensed breeder to sell puppies to an unlicensed dealer or retailer, or to sell on puppies acquired from an unlicensed breeder.

Anyone found to be in breach of these Acts may be fined or face a prison sentence.

What can you do if you suspect a puppy farm?  

Without entering the property or putting yourself in any danger, find out as much as you can about the farm, including the following if possible:  

• The name of the breeder, phone numbers and the full address.  

• Where you first heard about the farm.
• How many breeds they offer.  

• Cut out advertisements for the farm if they appear in your local paper and check how regularly the advertisements have featured.
• If you notice a van or truck coming and going from the farm, record the licence plate number.  

This information may help Dogs Trust, the RSPCA or your Local Authority if an investigation or prosecution goes forward in the future.  

You are entitled to question your Local Authority to find out:  

• If the farm is licensed to breed and sell puppies, the result of its last inspection and whether the farmer has been keeping adequate records.  

• The name of the Local Authority Officer, Dog Warden and/or Vet who inspected the premises.  

If you are not satisfied with any of the answers you are given you may lodge a formal complaint. Keep records of your conversations or correspondence as it may come in handy later.   Be very careful as puppy farming has much in common with organised crime. Do not attempt to remove any pups from the property illegally and do not trespass on the property because the law will not be on your side. Be aware that any ‘surveillance’, obstructions, repeated phone calls, or requests for information may be construed as harassment.   

Finally, remember, if any of this feels daunting, organisations such as Dogs Trust are there to help.