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We have all heard of Pedigree Dogs Exposed and the shame of the Kennel Club and so many breeders - well a few years earlier !!


Breeding legislation a 'shot in the foot' ?

Border Collie Rescue has been told, by a number of local authority animal welfare officers and dog wardens throughout the UK, that the recent changes in the law that was intended to tighten up on the commercial breeding of dogs (puppy farmers) may have been a 'shot in the foot' and has actually made their job more difficult.
The new laws are intended to make sure that people who were commercially breeding puppies were keeping their breeding 'stock' in good housing and conditions, requiring them to register with local authorities and undergo inspection of premises before being granted a licence.
Under the old legislation, a commercial breeder was distinguished by the number of breeding bitches kept on the premises and it was fairly easy for a 'spot check' by law enforcers to catch unlicensed offenders if more than the defined number of entire bitches were found on the premises.
The new legislation makes the distinction between commercial and 'hobby' breeding by the number of litters bred in any year and we are given to understand that it is more difficult to spot potential offenders as the litters are only on the premises for a few weeks and no matter how many bitches are found, action cannot be taken if there is no solid evidence that more than the defined number of litters have been bred.
Responsible commercial breeders will look after their bitches and puppies, comply with the law and get the appropriate licence, but responsible breeders have never really been the main problem. The problem is, as always, with the cowboys who seek to cut corners and maximise profits to the detriment of the welfare of the dogs in their care. Catching these characters has always been difficult, but is now almost impossible as the pups are quickly off-loaded through unofficial outlets and proper paperwork is never kept to show the number of litters bred.
You may know of a farm or property that regularly advertises puppies for sale. It may be that a roadside sign is on permanent or regular display, or maybe through adverts in the free papers with the same wording or phone number regularly associated that gives an indication to the activities occurring..It may be one breed advertised, but if it is more than one breed or several breeds, it is more likely that the activity is commercial.
Even if such a place is not a puppy farm they are obviously dealing dogs, and as such, should be inspected and licensed as commercial traders.
If you are concerned about possible illegal puppy farming or dealing, check with your local council authorities who issue the licences. If the trading is legitimate the premises and operator will be registered with them and they will be able to re-assure you. If there is no licence in existence they will be able to keep an eye on the offenders and take action if they overstep the law.
In the meantime we suggest that you do not buy a puppy from an advert placed in a newspaper, from a pet shop or from a farm displaying a roadside sign. Be very wary of mobile numbers and people who deliver and don't give an address. If you buy from such a source you will encourage a cruel and illegal trade involving the exploitation of  animals. Border Collie Pups should only be purchased from registered breeders who screen and check for hereditary diseases and can provide a researchable pedigree and proper paperwork. Pups intended to be kept as pets should never be brought from a farm or working bloodlines. Buyer beware is the watchword.


Pet dogs walked on grazing land could contaminate livestock.

It is not commonly known that canine tapeworm can be transmitted to livestock grazing on land where infected dogs have been allowed to defecate, rendering their meat unfit for human consumption.
All dogs on farms are required to have regular, recorded worming treatment to ensure they are clear of worm infection, however there is a danger that untreated pets, carrying worm infections, may contaminate farmland and free moorland grazing where public footpaths cross it.
Many public footpaths are not 'rights of way' and are available because of the goodwill of the landowner. If we want to keep the goodwill of farmers who allow us to use their land for recreational purposes - and if we want low priced and plentiful supplies of  good quality meat in our shops we can take simple action to resolve this potential problem.
First, we should all ensure that our dogs are regularly wormed, for the sake of the health of the dogs, if for no other reason (and that should be reason enough).. Consult your vet for the best products and frequency of use.
Second, we can pick up and dispose of the dogs waste in a responsible manner. It is illegal for a dog owner to allow their dog to defecate in a public place and leave it. Just because there are no handy dog waste bins in the country does not mean that you are exempt from that responsibility and just because no one sees you do it does not mean there are no consequences.
Dog waste disposal bags are cheap and available in pet shops everywhere. Many local authorities give them to the public free. If you can't get them free and begrudge the pet shop prices than buy some disposable nappy bags. They are cheap - as little as 1.50 for 200 - less in some stores.
Bear in mind the 'Country Code'. Don't leave your litter lying around and take all your 'crap' home with you and dispose of it properly.


Hot weather increases risks for children living in homes with pet Border Collies.

At BCR HQ we have been getting an increased number of calls recently from people wishing to re-home their Border Collie because the dog has nipped, bitten or threatened a child. The increase has been so obvious, sudden and from all over the country that we have been prompted to look more closely.
Looking back through our records over the last 10 years we have found that, although this is a common and an all year round problem with pet BC's, there have been annual, and often more frequent, 'pockets' showing an increase in the number of such calls that coincide with hot weather spells and particularly with school summer holidays where we have a longer than normal period during warm weather where excitable children and easily stimulated dogs are forced to share the limited space of the family home and garden.
No doubt, by the end of the summer vacations, the dog is as anxious as the average parent to see the kids back at school!
Another apparent difference that coincides with hot weather is that the reported age of the victims of such attacks rises to include older children and children in their early teens teens to a greater frequency than average. 
We have always said, and warned, that young children, particularly toddlers can be at risk from Border Collies being kept as pets in the average family home. A high percentage of BC's we are asked to take in have bitten or threatened children and experience has shown us that this breed is a greater threat to children than most.
We now understand that the main reason for this is over-stimulation of the dogs frustrated herding drive -  which often has no outlet or diversion in the average pet home - by the erratic movement and higher pitched, excited vocal tones of children. This, coupled with the general frustration a high proportion of bored pet BC's have to live with, leads to a subsequent intolerance of young children that the dog may regard as siblings or as subservient, rather than as dominant members of the pack.
It is now becoming clear that this common behaviour pattern is exacerbated by warm weather, leading to an increase in occurrences and making the dogs less tolerant of the proximity of older individuals in the human family group as well as youngsters.
We can only repeat our warning, that if you are looking for an average family pet to grow up with your children, do not consider a Border Collie and urge other re-homing groups to follow our practice of not homing BC's into family pet homes where there are resident children under 8 years of age.
It is always the dog that suffers from such an incident. Its frustration is seldom noted and the child's part is often overlooked, yet the dog must suffer the consequences of re-homing or PTS. Better that it should not have been placed in that situation to start with.


The Meat and Livestock Commission in the UK have updated their leaflet No 5 - 'Essential Sheep-Dog Matters' to include 8 pages of general Welfare Advice from Border Collie Rescue.

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BCR Foot and mouth disease archives - for details click here


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