Below is part two of two of an interview with Hannah Greeno about puppy farming, how to find puppies responsibly and what to avoid when looking. Conducted by Priya Bassi.
PB: How has your workload or business been affected by puppy farming?
HG: My workload increases with the number of people that fall into the puppy farming traps. Unfortunately clients with farmed puppies have a long road ahead of them. Pretty much all teacup puppies are farmed and don't live much more than 6-12 months in many cases. So it has happened before that a client has spent a huge amount of money on training only for the puppy to die before training has even finished. More than health problems though, I see a huge increase in behavior problems with farmed puppies. Many exhibit behaviors at 13 weeks that you wouldn't expect an average city dog to develop until at least 8 months, if at all. Again the safest way to avoid this risk is to rescue an adult dog whose personality and primary experiences are already formed so you know what you are getting.
PB: Do you think that current legislations on puppy farming are effective in battling the trade or should they be updated? Are the sanctions under these acts effective?
HG: Current laws and sanctions are ineffective when it comes to puppy farming in my opinion. If they were effective we would see a decline in the problem but it only increases. At least now, governing bodies have started to view the epidemic as an issue that requires attention. A very good suggestion that was brought to the house of commons for discussion by the group Pup Aid, was that puppies should not be bought or sold unless seen with their mother.
PB: How are the dogs affected by puppy farming?
HG: The dogs are affected by puppy farming in many different ways. Mainly related to health and behavior problems. From a health perspective, little thought or care is given to whether or not either sire or dam is healthy and unlikely to pass hereditary problems on to their puppies. Puppy farmers are likely to follow certain trends in the market such as teacup, brachycephalic or dogs that are unable to mate naturally, causing fatal problems such as organs being too small to function, snouts being too short to function correctly or puppies getting stuck due to their unnatural shape. From a behavior perspective, the first 12 weeks of a puppy’s life is crucial, many aspects of development need to be covered in this time to ensure a well rounded companion dog. The puppy farmers do not have the time/environment/skill/knowledge or inclination to be bothered with correct puppy socialization and development. The implications of failing at this task, affect the whole of society in a negative way. Puppy farmed dogs almost always suffer a poor quality of life in some way.
PB: How do you think the puppy farming issue could be resolved or prevented?
HG: The puppy farming issue could be resolved or prevented by a culmination of factors including but not limited to, educating the public on how to avoid these cruel practices and how important it is to do a lot of research prior to getting a dog, capping the price of puppies to make it less attractive for people to breed for money, licensing and certifying every breeder of puppies. Accidental litters are found homes through rescue centers. Promoting dog rescue instead of buying puppies.
PB: How can the public be made more aware and educated on this illegal trade?
HG: This trade is not illegal, in many cases poor breeding facilities actually have a license to produce the puppies and puppies are legally imported into the UK. More awareness and education can be facilitated by using the mass media to expose what actually goes on within this industry, documentaries and television shows can be scheduled for prime time viewing, the government can pass effective legislation, prospective owners can take a dog professional or vet with them to view puppies in their environment and carry out questioning and testing prior to purchasing any puppy.