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A Case from Kent
Well, would you believe it. Kent - a fine County - and as it turns out, in some areas, not so fine. Most would not suspect it to be a haven of puppy farms. Surely they are all in Wales and Ireland? Well Kent has it's fair share - in fact we have found it has quite a high concentration of puppy farms (licensed ones that is). We have also found out about a few illegal ones as well. 
Why Kent? Well its close to London - big market. Many other large towns as well, and it's affluent - people have money and can afford the pedigree breeds. And its got Dover + access to a few other ports. But then, the Channel Tunnel is so convenient. Europe beckons and beyond that the Middle and Far East, the Asian market. Expanding markets in the old Soviet States and the opening up of the Chinese Borders. Money to be made.
Evidence suggests that far more dogs pass through the County than are actually bred and sold there - and a huge number are bred and sold. To pet shops, to distributors, to agents and sometimes directly to the public.
Is Kent unique? No - not in terms of having Puppy farms. They are everywhere. Some small - some large and some horrendous. Kent may be a special place for through traffic, but wherever there is a City there will be puppy farms to supply the market.
Other issues such as Ethics, Morality, Legality, Working Practices, Law Enforcement, Licensing, Health and Safety, Consumer Rights, Veterinary Concerns, Socialising & Behavior Concerns and What The Hells Is Going To Be Done About This Situation + more, will be covered somewhere else on this website or on a website page linked to the menu page of this Puppy Farming section.

The following messages have had names, addresses and Telephone numbers changed or removed - the only other thing we have done is spell and grammar check. We have not edited or changed the wording. The lady was very upset when she wrote these. We were upset to read them. It is not uncommon for us to get a message like the first one from someone who has lost a dog suddenly or under unfortunate circumstances. Sometimes people just need a stranger to express themselves to - someone not involved. 
This is one of many premature deaths from 'unknown factors' that we hear about and can say are definitely on the increase in the BC, as are all known hereditary diseases in un-registered lines. Cancer is also more common. When we have been able to check we have found that the majority of these cases involve dogs bought from dealers, pet shops or through the free papers.
Because most of these cases do not go to post mortem, hard evidence to link these increases to bad breeding is unavailable to present in such a way as to convince scientists and civil servants to outlaw these breeding practices. So it goes on..........
 
On the Third of July 2004 we received the following e.mail message.
 

Hello

I have just stumbled upon your website and you have my congratulations. I may wobble a bit through my writing because my beautiful border collie has been put to sleep at three yrs and five months old.
Bought from a breeder in Yielding in Kent she was one of a litter of fifteen. As my auntie said she landed on her feet and into a wonderful exciting life with me and the company of my animal loving grand children. Her name is Mo an abbreviation of Mona my cross collie of sixteen years.
A free spirit Mo, who had the fortune of being able to eat when she was hungry drink when thirsty and had a garden as big as a field with lots of games to play and to invent.
Living two min's from the sea, Mo learned to swim and what a swimmer, so life was good, very good. Mo introduced me to many people who have become my very good friends. She was very selective in her own friends however. The only pet dog in the street she had her own fan club of other residents, life could never have been better. I loved her as deeply as she loved me, we read each others thoughts, we knew each others body language and expressions and all the birds in the garden called on her to help out with cat alerts.
A funny little habit she had as a pup was putting her head back and nodding up and down. May 3rd this year  we saw  the aftermath of what was later to be discovered as the recovery from a fit but we didn't see the actual fit, what we saw was distressing enough but worse was to come.
Her swallowing could be heard and was causing her distress and more violent fits were to follow. I wasn't happy with the first vet who did all relevant blood test, endoscopies and x-rays because they never had the time to talk with me and she wasn't getting better with the Epiphen and steroids given for suspected allergies of the Oesophagus, many restless nights followed. 
I changed vets twice and started research. I found a vet that sat and talked and more important, listened to me. 
Mo didn't show symptoms during the day (too busy I suppose) so it was difficult for the vet to see how poorly she was, but I knew. It was suggested that she stayed with the vet for a few hours for observation because by this time everything clinical had been ruled out. Within a few hours Mo's symptoms had been visually seen and she was rushed to hospital with a drip and a temperature of 41.Three days was a nightmare for me to be separated from her but I knew they would make her better, and that they did for ten days. 
Despite Mo still being on medication of antibiotics and Rimidyl her symptoms returned this last Sunday 27 June.
The swallowing difficulty, the panting hard down the nose staring up at the sky and eight dreadful fits in twelve hours. It had been suggested at some stage that her brain may have a growth pressing, which would not get better , or maybe a cyst, but it was an area that could only be investigated by MIR scan and no vet seemed to know how to deal with this problem.
Twelve hundred pounds I spent on trying to get her well but MIR scans start at one thousand. I had cancelled Mo's pet insurance back in Feb. to save a bit of money. I intended to start it up again a few years time but she was so fit, healthy, and active.
So, I suppose we came to the end of the road. I couldn't bear to see her suffer or to be completely doped on Phenobarbitone, the levels of which the vet wanted to give. I too was suffering badly, the fits were traumatic and left me in terrible shock but what was worse, much worse was not knowing, not knowing what to expect, was she facing a dreadful, painful death? Was she in a lot of pain in her head and in her throat? In between these seizures she was happy, and lively. Oh dear, I have started crying again.
It was an awful decision to make-- I miss her so very much, the pain for me is so awful, filling my whole body and head and I am so sorry Mo I promised to get you better and I failed, thank you for you for three yrs and five months.
We will remember your birthday on the 18 Dec as we have and wherever you are, we hope, Tinkika, Keifer  and me, that you will have the birthday cake you have liked for the passed three birthdays.
We will never stop loving you.
Thank you for listening from Mo's mum        
This was our reply
 
Hi,
 
Thank you for sharing your feelings for Mo with us. We are very touched by your letter and sad for your loss.
 
An indication to the cause of her problem may be in her breeding. 15 pups in one litter is well over the norm. it does suggest that there may be some abnormal circumstances in her family background.
Perhaps the breeder was a commercial outlet. We have heard some mention of a lady from Yalding who advertises in the free papers. She is a puppy farmer and a number of dogs she has sold have developed health problems. It may be the same lady that sold you Mo.
We are beginning a campaign to alert people to the risks of purchasing a dog from such an outlet. Your input may assist others in avoiding such a tragedy.
Perhaps at some time in the future, when you have had time to mourn and get over the initial shock of your loss, you would be prepared to tell us a little more about where she came from.
 
In the meantime, please accept our most sincere condolences and best wishes for the future.
 
Kindest regards,
 
Border Collie Rescue - UK.
 
The following day we received this message
 
Thank you for your kind words, at the time of writing I think I was trying to get my anger at vets out of my system, but sometime back I felt a need to contact the lady who sold us Mo.
I felt that if she new of other pups from the litter being poorly it might have helped in identifying Mo's illness.
Something deep inside me said that she might not be honest with me for fear of .. whatever. Then, by what you said made me think again. 
How important it is to maybe make contact with the owners of that litter or for them to make contact with me because they too may be suffering. So, with very little information other than the ladies name on the inoculation card, I looked through the free papers to see if I could find her. 
Eventually and with no luck I decided that there couldn't be many Mrs. xxxxx or xxxxxxxxxx as she is also known as in Yalding and that Yalding couldn't be that bigger place that someone there would know her. 
I telephoned a number that was advertising Westies, Cavaliers, Cairns, Labradors, Dalmatians, and Shih Tzus. A lady answered and I asked if she lived in Yalding Telephone number (01892) 000000. She said yes and what was I looking for. When I said Border Collie pup she said she didn't have them but her friend yyy did. I asked if yyy was Mrs. xxxxx and she said no, she was.
yyy who apparently lives in St. Mary's Hoo near Strood has the telephone number (01634) 000000.
I phoned her and asked about the pups, at the end of the conversation I remembered how important it was to see the mother of the litter as we had supposedly been shown by Mrs. xxxxx/ xxxxxxxxxx  when we bought Mo on Saturday 17th February 2001.
So I asked yyy if the Mother was there and she said no because she buys in like Mrs. xxxxx does, and then for the first time I realized that the fifteen in the litter were probably not all from the same litter and that instead of being born in Kent my little girl was actually born in Wales. This is dreadful, I would never have supported that kind of business had I known, I have always objected strongly to anything like that
There must be many Border Collie dogs of Mo's age suffering and no-one can help, because no-one knows what is wrong. Not many people will care as deeply as I did for her well-being and I am beginning to imagine horrible things happening to these poor dogs. Can this lady be made to contact the people who bought the litter of fifteen at this time? or even persuaded to?
I would gladly share Mo's medical experiences in the hope of it helping another animal. I would do whatever it took to see these seemingly caring so called breeders who show a make believe parent  go out of business. 
There is also someone else advertising Border Collie pups and apparently he turns up on some motorway twice a week as a pick up point as part of the arrangement of buying the pup. 
Oh, just to save the pain of one of those in that litter that might be suffering fits or having problems swallowing will somehow justify why I turned up at that so called breeders house that day. 
Please tell me if there is anything I can do to help and for Mo's sake to that if something can be done to put things right she may not have died completely in vain
Thank you for listening, Bless you and the work you do. love from Mo's mum
 .        
This was immediately  followed by another message with the ladies full name and contact details and - 
 

The Border Collie pups that were mentioned as the ones dropped off at motorways are also from Wales.

 The phone number of the "dealer" is 01550 000000 and delivery is on a Saturday on the m4 and m5 motorways.

It turned out that Mo's mum claimed to have purchased Mo from the same lady that we had been warned about and had been investigating and her second e.mail gave the ladies name (or one that she is said to use). Mo was purchased 3 years ago. This lady is still operating. We have read a disturbing newspaper article about her dated June 2004. There had been demonstrations outside her premises in June this year. What's going on?

We have since spoken to Mo's mum on the phone.  The information we have received has been published here and distributed to interested parties with her permission.

 
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