We are running out of time to put right all these wrongs. And so are the dogs. The question is whether we have people in positions of influence and authority who are prepared to step up and do the right thing. And the right thing is to put the best interests of dogs at the centre of their strategy because only by doing this will everything else, including public protection, follow.
Lottie has been with us now for 5 days. Perhaps I am slightly delirious from lack of sleep but I have fallen for her very heavily indeed much to the delight of my family. That's quite fortunate really as I'm discovering that puppies are not a walk in the park (excuse the extremely weak pun, I plead exhaustion).
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the majority of excited, prospective puppy buyers want to be able to confidently buy a puppy that has the best possible chance of being a healthy, happy companion, and family member. In other words there's no real demand out there for irresponsibly bred puppies.
Stocktaking is a normal, regular activity for any business. When the phrase 'stocktake and clear out" is referring to living, sentient companion animals, it's a sinister notion. But that's the phrase used to describe what happens in the puppy trade when discarded breeding dogs and puppies not deemed 'cute' enough to sell are dealt with.
Our research for Puppy Awareness Week, taking place from 1-7 September, shows that a shocking one in 10 people buy their pup online, without seeing the puppy before they buy and 15% continue to buy from pet shops.
A roll call of puppy farmers delights fill the puppy sites: doodles of all sorts, cavachons, pugaliers, jugaliers, jugs, chugs, pomapoos, the names are as numerous as they are ridiculous. And behind them all, suffering parents endure years of breeding misery, not that puppy buyers will ever see or know that.
It's never been easier to buy a puppy. The puppy farming industry is huge. In the past, many people bought from pet shops, or local ads, and that still happens, but nowadays, there are thousands of online sites listing millions of puppies for sale around the world, offering a smorgasbord of misery. The scale is mind boggling and hideous if, like me, you loathe the way our relationship with dogs has been infected by a consumerist, disposable way of life.