Animal welfare charity Naturewatch Foundation launches ‘Hotline 4 Puppies’
Animal welfare charity, Naturewatch Foundation, is extending their dog welfare campaign work into reporting illegal puppy farming. The ‘Hotline 4 Puppies’ project will include reporting of named individuals suspected of being involved in puppy farming and covert online investigation undertaken by undercover specialists. The model will be based on Naturewatch Foundation’s successful work in reporting illegal badger persecution.
Sadly, puppy farming is rife in the UK. A puppy farm is an intensive dog breeding facility where the welfare of dogs is often disregarded in order to maximise profits and exploit dog loving families. The terrible numbers show that up to 400,000 farmed puppies are sold to the British public every year and increasingly online. A lot of the young puppies are bred in cold and draughty breeding sheds hidden from view. They often carry unknown disease and are under-socialised, leading to high vet bills and behavioural issues, unforeseen by their new owners. As for the unsold puppies and exhausted breeding dogs, we may never learn the full scale of the brutality.
In 2018, Naturewatch Foundation started undercover investigations into illegal badger persecution, passing high-quality information packs to law enforcement agencies. The agencies have used the information to initiate further investigations, gather intelligence, and take enforcement action. Naturewatch Foundation investigators have not only uncovered information on badger baiting, snaring, poisoning and sett interference, but also other forms of serious crime, including illegal firearms, possession and sale of drugs, dog fighting and fox hunting. They also exposed the sale of puppies abroad to be trained for badger baiting. As a result of this success, the charity has decided to extend their resources into reporting illegal puppy farming in the UK, supported by similar undercover investigations.
Naturewatch Foundation Campaign Manager, Sarah Carr, explains:
“In extending our work and launching our ‘Hotline 4 Puppies’, we’re asking members of the public to tell our Animal Crime Manager about anyone they suspect is either involved in illegal puppy farming or breaching animal welfare standards in the breeding of dogs. The Animal Crime Manager can be contacted, in strictest confidence, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07392 185 373.
Utilising additional covert investigations, we also intend to provide high-quality information packs to law enforcement agencies resulting in the rescue of the animals, prosecution and supporting the demise of the puppy farming sector. Our team has extensive experience of working with law enforcement agencies on animal related crime. For security reasons, the identity of some team members is confidential.”
Sadly, some criminals and those only interested in making quick money at the expense of animals, will continue to flout the new laws, often using the internet to advertise their puppies. Naturewatch Foundation hopes their reporting line will complement the work of other animal welfare campaigners, the updated dog breeding regulations and support the work of law enforcement agencies stamping out cruel puppy farming.
In their campaigning, Naturewatch Foundation also hope to promote the ‘adopt, don’t shop’ message to encourage potential dog owners to first think about visiting animal rescue shelters when searching for a puppy or dog to bring into their families.