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More than 200 dogs rescued from unlicensed Carmarthenshire breeder

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A multi-agency operation in Carmarthenshire led by the county’s Trading Standards team has resulted in over 200 dogs rescued in what one rescue charity described as “the most heart-breaking and appalling conditions they had ever seen”. 

Hope Rescue, a charity based in Llanharan, alongside other animal welfare charities, were called to assist with the multi-agency operation to help over 200 breeding bitches, stud dogs and newly born puppies from an unlicensed breeder in Carmarthenshire last weekend.

The Hope Rescue welfare team attended the site and rescued 47 dogs from what was described as the most heart-breaking and appalling conditions they had ever seen.

In total they rescued five mums nursing with a total of 18 puppies, five pregnant mums and a further 20 adults. The dogs were amongst the most popular breeds including Bichon Frises, Shihtzus, Cockerpoos, Cavaliers, Labradors and Cocker Spaniels.

Some of the dogs required immediate admission to the vets including Smarties a Cocker Spaniel who needed treatment for severely infected bite wounds and a serious ear infection. She was found cowering in the corner of an outbuilding.

One of the nursing mums, Hazel a Bichon Frise, was so matted that she had maggots in her coat whilst feeding 5 day old puppies. A number of dogs also have eye and ear infections, heavy worm burdens and rotten teeth. 

Bichon Frise, Hazel was covered in maggots when rescued (Image: Hope Rescue)

Vanessa Waddon, Hope Rescue founder said: “The rescue centre was already near capacity before this intake due to the predicted rise in abandoned dogs following the lifting of lockdown restrictions. However, we are fortunate to have an incredible network of foster homes who didn’t hesitate to open their hearts and homes to help the physical and emotional rehabilitation of these traumatised puppy farm dogs, many of whom were trying to raise their puppies in such appalling conditions.

“The sad reality is that this puppy farmer was no doubt gearing up for the Christmas puppy market. Sadly, puppy farming is still very much alive in Wales and we were pleased to support the excellent work being undertaken by the Trading Standards Wales Regional Investigation Team.

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“We continue to urge everyone looking to add a four legged family member to do their research. Please check out your local rescue centre first, and if you are going to purchase a dog then ensure it is from a reputable breeder and follow the RSPCA advice.”  

Gareth Walters, Trading Standards Wales’ strategic lead for animal health and welfare, said: “Unlicensed puppy dealers prioritise profit over animal welfare – they want to generate the maximum amount of profit for the absolute minimum amount of effort and investment. The trade is attractive because of the large profits, with designer breed dogs having average price tags of £2,000, but often selling for £5,000 and stud dogs commanding fees even higher.”

Clive Jones, from the National Trading Standards Regional Investigation Team (Wales), said: “Posing as breeders, unlicensed dealers advertise puppies in newspapers, magazines and, most commonly, online. They lure consumers by promoting the fact that the puppies are complete pedigrees; however, this does not guarantee quality. Many consumers then find themselves having to pay a high cost, both financially and emotionally, for puppies reared in awful circumstances.”

(Lead image: Hope Rescue)

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