'Cruel trade' in puppies for presents

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The Independent Online
DOG breeders are keeping hundreds of puppies in horrific conditions on intensive farms to be sold as Christmas presents, the RSPCA claimed yesterday.

The puppies are kept in cramped, unheated outhouses on farms in remote parts of Wales and pet shops throughout the country are selling them at eight weeks old. Many are sickly, stressed, unexercised and not properly vaccinated, the RSPCA said.

On one unlicensed farm, 50 dogs were kept in 3ft high pens with only enough room for each dog to sit and turn around, the report in the RSPCA's magazine, Animal Life, revealed.

Rohan Barker, an RSPCA Inspector who has visited many of the farms, said: 'Puppy farmers are only interested in making money . . . It is difficult for us to police the puppy farm business and if the breeders don't have a licence, it is very hard for us to track them down.'

The RSPCA's chief veterinary officer, Terence Bate, said anyone buying a puppy should see it with its mother first. 'They will then be able to see the conditions it has lived in.'