Review of dog breeding laws in the UK
  • Petitioning Richard Benyon MP

This petition will be delivered to:

Richard Benyon MP
Government/ Council
David Cameron

Review of dog breeding laws in the UK

    1. Elaine M
    2. Petition by

      Elaine M

      stockton, United Kingdom

To stop the cruel over breeding of pups & review the lack of control of internet advertising

Until recently I was blissfully unaware of a culture known as 'puppy farming' Clearly I lead a sheltered life and was living with the hope that these sort of practices didn’t go on.

Myself along with my Husband and my young family of 4 children decided to extend our family and were wanting to offer a loving home to a puppy. We settled on the Shih tzu breed due to friends having them and recommending them to us with them having wonderful, playful, loving temperaments. We set about looking through adverts (online) and came across an advert in the local area.

We visited the pups advertised and from the word go alarm bells were ringing. The woman who placed the advert then said she didnt have the pups and that they were now with her mother and we had to ring another number. When we arrived the woman was living above a pub which we found strange. The woman was cold towards the pups and clearly wasn’t interested in were he was going and what sort of background we had, if we had a garden, had we had a dog previously etc. Questions that I expected to be asked. At one point the 'breeder' even suggested we took 2 of them!

The pups seemed very small, were dirty and quite honestly they stunk. Still, we immediately fell in love with him, and we decided to take him there and then, at least we could take him home, clean him up and love and care for him.  We were shocked at his size but she assured us that was normal.

What happened over the next 48hrs will haunt us for years to come, if not a life time. The pup who we then named Zac constantly slept, when he was awake he couldn’t walk far without crying to be picked up. He struggled to feed, he spent most of his time feeding licking the food and the bowl, like he wasn't sure what to do with it, he would also suckle my knuckles like a baby.

On the 2nd day of him being in our care he became unsteady on his feet and could barely keep up his own body, he cried in his sleep and then proceeded to wake and vomit dirty brown liquid repeatedly. This went on through the late hours of the night, he finally settled and slept and woke the next morning and the vomiting started again. We immediately at this point sought out medical attention for him.

The vets took Zac in under their care due to his condition. His condition throughout the day deteriorated and he was placed on a drip to try and rehydrate him. That afternoon we received a call saying we needed to go down and have a serious discussion about putting him to sleep as his condition was so bleak, a recovery was quite frankly going to be a miracle. 

When we arrived to see him and discuss his options with his vet looking after him we woke and was violently sick, bringing up blood, and what looked like parts of what was left of his stomach.  At this point through the tears I had to give permission for the vet to put him to sleep to stop his suffering. The last vision I have of this beautiful little pup was of him vomiting his insides, even typing this memory brings tears to my eyes.

This experience was heartbreaking enough, but myself and my husband then had the task of telling 4 small children that the puppy they had taken into their hearts and loved and cared for had died. Having to listen to 4 children cry themselves to sleep was horrific and as a parent I felt like I had exposed my children to this heartbreak.

What happened over the coming weeks with regards to the 'breeder' has been an absolute eye opener and to be honest sickening.

The woman claiming to of been selling strong, loving pedigree pups from a loving home turned into an evil, cold hearted excuse for a human being, and that is being polite. She refused to return calls, messages, emails, screamed and shouted at trading standards and even told a trading standards officer to never ring her again. She blamed my children for the pups death, she lied about having a daughter (who was also involved in the breeding of the pups) and then claimed she had no idea there was multiple adverts all over the internet of her breeding previous litters and advertising them. The longer this went on the more evidence I uncovered and it can to light that this woman had been breeding and selling pups on a regular basis. This woman also had on online facebook page named ********** designer dogs selling ridiculous outfits for the dogs.

I then received a report from the vets practice who had taken care of Zac. It was brought to light that Zac was only approx 4-5 weeks old when he died. His teeth were barely erupted and he weighted 360g. This angered and sickened us deeply and encouraged us to take further action. We were told that he was much older than that by this woman and that he was fully weened. The fact that his teeth weren’t even erupted leads us to question how could he be fully weened if he didn’t have the teeth to eat solid food with.

As far as we were concerned Zac had been taken away from his mother at such an early age that he didn’t stand a chance to be allowed to grow into a healthy happy dog. What made us practically sick at this point was that Zac was one of the biggest pups that we viewed from the litter!

The woman selling these pups is still yet to respond to me and take responsibility for her greedy, money orientated actions.

However, what I have also discovered is that any idiot can breed dogs and not have to be accountable unless they breed more than 5 litters a year.

Basically 5 litters a year, most litters have approx 5 pups and are sold at roughly £400 each, thats £10,000 a year revenue, but they are not required to apply for a £50 dog breeding license. A License that would offer the pups more protection with regards to conditions and ensure that procedures are followed to ensure the pups are not taken away from their mothers to early. A license giving the council more powers to stop these 'breeders' exploiting the dogs and protecting the pups.

The animal welfare officer could only find proof that this woman, who I have come to now know as 'Cruella' had 'only' breed 4 litters this year so could therefore not take any action against her on this occassion.  This is what has angrered me to start this petition.

I feel that this needs serious reconsideration and the laws tightening on this matter.

We cant bring Zac back and make what happened right, our only comfort is that we know we loved, cared for and got him the medical attention he needed and made his last few hours as comfortable as possible, regardless of the cost, we felt it was the least we could of done for him.

We learnt a terrible, harsh lesson and wish we hadn’t been so naïve. We had never bought a pup before and we bought with our hearts, not our heads, which were shouting something is not right here!

 As well as the breeding regulations needing serious overhauls I also believe you shouldn’t be able to sell pups over the internet without a breeding license. The fake pedigree papers were were given with Zac weren’t worth the paper they were written on. This woman had adverts on sites ranging from gumtree, ad trader to pet sites and there is no control over them at present.

I would like to urge the Government to review the current Laws governing animal welfare to include animals for sale on trading internet sites. Currently live animals can be advertised for sale on these internet sites and there are no laws, few rules, checks or protection for the animals.

I complained to the site which advertised Zac and although they replied there was nothing they could do as they had no powers. I then asked for them to close down this womans account, which they did.

I really hope no other family has to go through what we did, but sadly this wont be the case. We are so traumatised by what happened and the aftermath that I don’t think we could ever look at getting another pup, which is a shame as we could of offered him a lovely family home. My children showed him nothing but love and affection and quite frankly showed him more respect than the breeder did in 3 days he was in our care.

If I can say one thing to anyone looking into buying a pup it would be to make sure that the breeder is registered and do as much research first as you can. My only wish is we had done that and saved us all the heartache.


Since writing this petition I have also had my eyes opened to the number of unwanted Dogs in shelters and in need of loving homes.  These numbers have been drastically increased because of these backyard breeders.  Something needs to give, and soon!

(added 20/8/2012)

Thank you for taking the time to read Zac's story and please sign his petition



We are pleased to announce we have taken the decision to adopt a lovely dog called Bud from Dogs Trust Darlington.  He has now been with us a few days and is settling in lovely.  He is from the dogs trust and we couldnt ask for a better new family member.

We will never forget Zac and the only good thing from his short life is that his voice was heard and hopefully will help getting the plight of these dogs/pups just like him  heard.  

Zac's story has also been featured in Dogs Today Magazine along with other cases in an article about online pet sales.








Richard Benyon MP
Government/ Council
David Cameron
I've just signed the following petition addressed to: Government/ Council.

Tighten dog breeding laws

To stop the cruel over breeding of pups


[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Update

      Elaine M
      Petition Organizer

      Hi Guys, thank you again for your support and for signing this petition. Although its been almost 2 years since Zac passed away I found out last week that one of the people involved in the breeding has been prosecuted and is awaiting sentencing on the 8th May. A victory as such and some justice for Zac, I am just saddened that these people were allowed to carry on for another 2 years doing this.

      Dog breeder convicted of animal welfare charges

      Steven Hutchinson, of Evenwood Gate, found guilty of ten offences following trial at Darlington Magistrates Court 5:33pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014 in News By Helen Russell, Reporter (Wear Valley) Man convicted after RSPCA prosecution A DOG breeder has been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

    2. Reached 2,000 signatures

      Elaine M
      Petition Organizer

      for Environment
      Food & Rural Affairs
      Alex Cunningham MP House of Commons London
      SW1A OAA
      From Richard Benyon MP
      Nobel House
      17 Smith Square London SW1P 3JR
      T 08459 335577 www.defra.qovuk
      Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries

      Thank you for your letter of 25 July to Lord Taylor on behalf of your constituent, Mrs E Mitchell, about puppy farms. I am replying as the Duty Minister during recess.

      I can assure your constituents that the Government does not condone cruelty to any animals. The Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, which amended and extended the provisions of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991, provides protection for dogs used in breeding establishments. The law places limits on the frequency and timing of breeding from a bitch. Bitches cannot be mated before they are a year old, must have no more than six litters in a lifetime and can only have one litter every 12 months. Those people who are n

    4. Reached 1,000 signatures
    5. Reached 500 signatures
    6. A short story has been printed in local paper

      Elaine M
      Petition Organizer

      Zac's story has been printed this evening in the Shildon Crier as a letter to the editor

    7. Day 3 and 264 signatures so far

      Elaine M
      Petition Organizer

      thank you for all your support

    8. Reached 250 signatures
    9. Local MP is helping me with this cause

      Elaine M
      Petition Organizer

      Hi Elaine – thank you for your two e-mails about puppy farming. I can understand your concerns so we’ll write to the Minister responsible for animal welfare to see what plans he has to deal with the issues you raise.

      Best wishes


      Alex Cunningham
      Labour MP for Stockton North
      Parliamentary Private Secretary to Sadiq Khan, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

    10. Reached 100 signatures
    11. 74 signatures so far guy's, thank you for your support!

      Elaine M
      Petition Organizer

      Along way to go still so please forward this link to as many people as possible

    12. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • 4 days ago

      So many dogs are already desperate for homes and until this issue is solved, we do not need to continue breeding. Internet breeders aren't always trusted or treating the pups / mothers correctly and we need to be able to control this more to stop cruelty.

    • Laurie Flambouras SCOTTSDALE, AZ
      • 6 days ago

      All animals deserve to be treated humanely. They have emotions. They feel pain. Anyone with empathy would agree to treat them well, except of course, for the people trying to make loads of money of them.

      • 16 days ago

      I think the time has come to completely ban 'backyard' breeders. Anyone who wishes to breed their dogs should have to have a licence & be highly vetted. There are already enough dogs without a forever family waiting in shelters to be adopted. People should do the right thing & chose a rescue animal. I have always chosen rescue dogs & they are just the best dogs!

      • about 1 month ago

      We've got to stop over breeding and so many sick/dying puppies that leads to more abandoned & mistreated dogs.

      So by having good secure & reputable breeders only will help stop the rogue breeders that only want money who don't care about the dogs welfare

      • about 1 month ago

      We bring dogs into this world only for them to be put into kennels, what sort of a life is that, they didn't ask to be brought into this world, we did, and why? For people to profit for their own selfish gain.kennels are over run and dogs are left without owners, or even worse are put to sleep all because of us, humans


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