The independent London newspaper

Dog, Fay, used for breeding shows why government ban on puppy farms can’t come soon enough

27 September, 2018

A stray Jack Russell Terrier called Fay was brought into Mayhew by two members of the public earlier this month, who found her lost and alone on the Sandringham Road in obvious distress.

Fay had clearly only recently given birth, and her teats were sore and inflamed.

She was still expressing milk, and suffering from localised swelling.

After wrapping Fay in a blanket and carrying her to our Home, her concerned rescuers handed her over to our Animal Welfare Officers (AWO’s), who immediately took her into our clinic for a full health examination.

Zoe Edwards, Head of Animal Welfare at Mayhew, said “We can safely say that Fay is a typical example of what Mayhew AWO’s see all too often.

“Fay has obviously been used for breeding, and given her body condition has not been kept in the best environment. On her arrival, she was so exhausted.

“We have no idea how long she had been wandering the streets for, and it must have been extremely stressful for her not knowing where she was or where her new pups were.’’

Fay’s story sadly exposes the harsh reality of third party puppy sales, which result in unscrupulous, sometimes cruel and often dangerous breeding practices.

Puppy farms significantly increase both physical and psychological risks to animals through unsanitary living conditions, stressful environments and separating mothers from puppies far too early. Happily, these risks have recently been acknowledged and addressed by Defra, whose Minister Lord Gardiner announced a call for evidence into a potential ban at Mayhew earlier this year.

The decision to back the ban was made last month at 10 Downing Street, at a garden reception attended by Mayhew CEO Caroline Yates.
The ban itself – commonly referred to as ‘Lucy’s Law’ – is part of a series of government reforms on pet welfare, including increased sentencing for animal cruelty convictions and tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders.

New laws will come into force on Monday 1st October this year, banning licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks and tightening the compulsory licensing of anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

Mayhew supports the ban, with Zoe Edwards saying: “People that breed solely for money do not care about the health and wellbeing of these poor animals, and the animals lives are miserable.

“They are kept in filthy conditions and just used to breed over and over again. The pups are taken away far too young, and the Mums are discarded when the breeders have no more use for them.’’

Mayhew CEO Caroline Yates added her support for the ban, saying “We are delighted the government has taken on board the evidence supplied by Mayhew and other welfare organisations on this important issue that we have all been very concerned about.

“The ban will help prevent owners continuously being misled into buying often sickly or underage animals from third party dealers, who have no interest in their welfare. It will bring us closer to putting an end to animal suffering, unnecessary deaths and the all too frequent relinquishment to shelters of these poor animals. With this legislative support, animal welfare organisations like Mayhew will truly be able to help animals and owners in our community.’’

“For Fay, a happy ending is already in sight. Our Kennels team is taking care of her medical and behavioural needs around the clock, and as soon as she is fully vaccinated, neutered and has received the love and care she so rightly deserves, she will be available for adoption and looking for her forever home.

“When the ban comes into place, anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten will have to deal directly with a licensed breeder or rehoming centre such as Mayhew.
In addition, the approved legislation will set out clear rules for licensed breeders such as:
• All puppies and kittens must be shown to prospective new owners alongside the mother
Breeders are required to meet with prospective owners in the environment where the puppy or kitten was bred and born
• No puppies or kittens under 8 weeks old will allowed to be sold or rehomed

Fay’s story can also be viewed on the Mayhew Youtube channel

Since 1886 Mayhew is one of the most effective animal welfare charities in London.
We help thousands of animals in need gain a better quality of life by delivering a broad range of community-based veterinary, care and education services in the UK and overseas.
Our team of Animal Welfare Officers actively work in the local community preventing animal welfare problems becoming crises and work extensively with vulnerable pet owners in society, including the elderly, disabled, homeless and pet owners facing a crisis, whether housing, personal or health related.

They offer a range of services including a free pick-up and return neutering and preventative vet care service and temporary foster care for pets whose owners are facing a crisis. They work with youth offenders and young people to educate and promote compassion for animals.

Our Officers work closely with local authorities to address pet ownership issues and encourage neutering. They attend local community events offering pet owners advice, reassurance and help as well as free microchipping. They also operate a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) programme for London’s feral cats, and collaborate with government and non-government agencies to address the challenges of misuse and mistreatment of companion animals. Our onsite Community Vet Clinic and Vet Team promote responsible care for pets and offers low cost and affordable neutering and preventative veterinary care to pet owners. We also offer free neutering for bull breed dogs and for cats under the C4 scheme.

Our Vet Clinic provides care, treatment, neutering and surgery for the sick, injured, abandoned and neglected animals that come through our doors.

Since 2000, we have worked internationally funding long-term and sustainable animal welfare, rabies prevention and Trap Vaccinate Neuter Release (TVNR) programmes.
Key countries where we work are Afghanistan, Georgia, Russia and India.

We provide veterinary training to overseas vets who are the key to promoting animal welfare abroad. The vets we train go on to train other vets and student vets in their own countries, thus we’re building capacity for high quality neutering, surgery and veterinary preventative care.

Our training equips international vets with the skills to save and improve the lives of free-roaming dogs and cats.
To date we have trained over 400 vets overseas.

Our animal therapy programme, TheraPaws, has 50 teams of humans and dogs who visit care homes, hospitals and hospices in 11 London boroughs promoting the human and animal bond and bringing well-being and joy to residents and patients.
In 2017 we: • Rehomed 370 cats and 92 dogs • Helped 1431 animals in the community • Neutered 1789 animals • Microchipped 948 animals • Reunited 80 lost dogs with their owners I

In the countries where we work, Mayhew International: • Neutered 11943 dogs and 1232 cats • Vaccinated 14262 dogs against rabies • Providing training for 65 vet professionals • Educated 99138 adults and children in animal welfare in India

To find out more about Mayhew’s work, visit

For adoption, clinic and general enquiries, call: 020 8962 8000. To donate, call: 020 8206 5870.


Share this story

Post a comment