Whether you’re looking for your first pet or you’re looking for an addition to the family; we all know it’s an exciting and overwhelming process. But what do you really know about where the puppies or kittens are from? There are so many different ways to find a pet, but unfortunately not everyone can be trusted and haven’t always got the animal’s best interest in mind. Always have your question hat on. Just as much research needs to be put into finding out where your pet comes from and not just what type of pet you want. Puppy farm, kitten farm, kitten mill or puppy mill are terms for a vast and growing business, but they make false claims to unwitting pet buyers often mistreating the animals being “farmed”.
Firstly, what is a kitten or puppy farm? It’s a breeding facility that’s sole purpose is to churn out lots of dogs or cats for the least expense and selling them for the most profit.
Why should you care?
Substandard breeding can lead to many health and behavioural issues. Remember you can do your part by asking the right questions and RESEARCHING the breeder before you get a pet.
This can be done by checking a number of sites whose sole purpose is to promote responsible breeding like the Kennel Club.
Let’s be clear, We’re not saying be suspicious of ALL breeders!
Most breeders are reputable and have the correct procedures set up and genuinely care for the animals in their care and whose aim is to find them great furever homes.
Here are a few tips to avoid buying from a puppy farm:
Avoid pet stores, newspaper ads and ‘great deals’ online.
- It’s not uncommon for a puppy farm to supply pet stores with false information so still ask questions at the pet stores.
- Avoid advertisements that are constantly in newspapers or flyers passed out in public areas or listed on social media/ websites.
Visit the breeder and ask questions
- Ask to see the entire facility, check to make sure it’s clean where the dogs are kept and bred! Do the dogs have enough space? and ALWAYS ask to see the mother!
By Law UK breeders that produce 5 or more litters of puppies per year is considered a breeding business; and therefore must be licensed and certified by their local authority to operate.
While having a license is no guarantee that your breeder is legitimate to operate but any breeding on a large scale WITHOUT license is a sure-fire sign that you should be looking elsewhere.
If the breeder shows hesitation when asked these queries
- Reputable breeders will want to ensure their puppies and kittens are going to good homes. So they should actually ask you questions as well. It should not be just about the money.
If the breeder asks to meet in a public place to complete the sale.
- If they try and meet somewhere other than the facility in which the animal is bred then they might be an interim seller. Not knowing where the animal has come from and the genetic history can unknowingly cost you for the animals care in the long run, or the pet may have been stolen.
Adopt from a shelter or rescue instead
- So many puppies and kittens are given up from unwanted litters, so why not start there and open up you home to a pet already in need, even if it is temporarily.
If a breeder refuses to give the name of their veterinarian.
- Look up the vet’s name to ensure that they are legitimate. There is no need to interrogate the vet but a simple online check of the name and location to verify its legitimacy.
A breeder that offers breeds that are ‘rare’ or ‘new’
- Breeding is not an experiment. So any litter that is described as ‘rare’ or ‘new’ is cause for concern on the methods of breeding.
A litter offered for sale at a very young age.
- Kittens need to be with their mother for at least 12 weeks and puppies between 8-10 weeks.
What to do if you suspect that a breeder is in fact a puppy farmer
If you suspect a breeder isn’t legitimate, unlicensed or an interim seller then the safest option is to WALK AWAY.
You can report a breeder to their local authority. As part of issuing any breeder their license, the local authority ensure that the premises and living conditions are inspected and check the health along with the procedures in place at the premises for the animals on an annual basis.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, please contact the RSPCA. If you witness cruelty contact the police as a matter of urgency.
Alternatively, if you’ve already purchased a pet and find that his/her health is deteriorating, not as advertised or dishonestly sold then you can seek legal advice.