LEADING animal welfare charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has welcomed new Government regulations which will clamp down on breeders who see dogs as nothing more than a way to make money.

The new regulations, coming into force today (1 October) will mean any breeder producing three or more litters a year must apply for a licence through their local council and prove they meet basic standards of animal welfare.

The new laws will also prevent breeders from selling puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age to pet shops and other dealers.

Battersea’s Deputy Chief Executive Peter Laurie said: “Relentless breeding of dogs in dirty, squalid conditions takes place in neighbourhoods up and down the UK. Battersea and other rescue centres are often the ones left to pick up the pieces when breeding bitches are deemed no longer useful and are dumped on the streets. We hope today’s regulations will help to clamp down on the cruel practice of forcing these dogs to live in horrible conditions while giving birth to litter after litter.”

One dog to suffer at the hands of this industry is Marjorie, a two-year-old Bulldog who was brought into Battersea after she’d been found dumped on the streets in a dreadful state.

Battersea welcomes new regulations to tackle cruel backstreet breeding
Marjorie, a mother again and again

Despite her young age, Marjorie had clearly already given birth to many litters. She was unable to sit because of a prolapsed womb and was covered in mange and missing much of her hair. She was nursed back to health by Battersea and the loving care of her foster carer, and now owner, Hollie Oppe.

Marjorie become the face of Battersea’s End Backstreet Breeding Campaign in 2015, which called for a clampdown on the many undercover dog breeders that put profit before animal welfare.

Battersea is also hoping the new regulations will make it more difficult for unscrupulous breeders to sell dogs for vast profit on the web, which is a key route to market for many backstreet breeders.

Under the new laws, anyone who breeds more than three litters a year will have to show their licence number online, to legally sell their puppies.

Online pet sales have become a massive industry and so far this year Battersea has taken in over 280 dogs that were originally bought online.

Battersea welcomes new regulations to tackle cruel backstreet breeding

One such dog is Eva, an 11-month-old Jack Russell Terrier, whose previous owner bought her from an online advert. When she went to pick up her new puppy, she found the address she’d been given was for a shop front, not a house. The seller came out with tiny Eva, who was clearly malnourished and very ill. Eva was on death’s door, so her previous owner decided to buy her and take her home. Despite her best efforts, Eva had anxiety issues and ended up being too much for her to cope with, so she brought the Jack Russell into Battersea in April 2018. Eva has since been rehomed to Hertfordshire.

Peter Laurie commented: “When you’re buying online, it can be impossible to pick out the genuine seller from a backstreet breeder or someone who’s acting as a front for a puppy farmer. Many of the dogs bought online that then come into Battersea have been given up because their owners discover they have unexpected behavioural or medical issues they can’t cope with. We urge people thinking of getting a new pet to visit a rescue centre first. Here at Battersea, we complete in-depth behavioural and medical assessments on every dog that comes through our doors, so people know what they’re getting when they take their new pet home.”

Find out more about Battersea’s End Backstreet Breeding Campaign here.