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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK
Harrods ends puppy farm contract
Dog in messy pen
The dog pens were filmed by a secret camera
Britain's most famous department store, Harrods, has stopped using a west Wales puppy farm to stock its pet shop after an undercover BBC investigation.

It revealed that the farm near Newcastle Emlyn had been breeding puppies without a licence to do so.

A veterinary nurse who visited the Windy Rise farm as part of the investigation described the conditions at the time as "horrific".

Ceredigion council and the farm owners confirmed a licence has now been given.

BBC One's Six O'clock news investigation was instigated following a tip-off from a former Harrods employee who said she was concerned at the large numbers of dogs being supplied to the store from Windy Rise Farm.

Secret filming taken by the BBC showed dogs living in unsuitable kennelling with concrete floors which were "damp, wet and smelly".

Catherine Gillie, a former veterinary nurse who now works as the Dogs Trust assistant field director, visited the farm as part of the investigation.

Inside the puppy farm
An undercover reporter visited the puppy farm

"Conditions inside this puppy farm were absolutely horrific," she said.

"Both puppies and their mothers displayed obvious signs of neglect, starved of affection and proper care, and were in kept in appalling conditions, with no proper bedding, no access to the outside world, and unable to even see over the top of their pens."

Owner of the farm, Wyn Thomas, sold undercover reporter Adrian Addison an eight-week-old Shih Tzu puppy for 250, even though he was unlicensed to do so.

An examination by a vet showed that the pup was dirty, suffering from skin complaints and was unused to human contact.

Under the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act (1990), a breeding licence is required for anyone breeding five or more litters a year for sale. Before the licence can be granted, the premises must be inspected by a veterinary surgeon and a local authority officer.

The Dogs Trust said it feared there was an multi-million pound illegal puppy farm industry across the UK.

Clarissa Baldwin
Clarissa Baldwin fears there may be more illegal puppy farms

Chief executive of the trust, Clarissa Baldwin, said: "Dogs Trust has been campaigning for many years to put an end to the appalling and inhumane practice of puppy farming.

"Sadly, the puppy farm shown is just one of many across the country.

"As this case highlights, puppy farms mean man's best friend is often treated merely as a breeding machine.

"Puppies bought from the adverts in local newspapers, or the pet shop on the high street, could so easily come from a puppy farm.

"Even a pedigree certificate or registration is not necessarily proof the puppy has been properly reared or bred."

Since the BBC investigation, Ceredigion council has issued the farm with a licence to breed and sell dogs.

As a result of the investigation into Windy Rise, Harrods has confirmed that they are no longer working with the breeder.




SEE ALSO:
Protest against puppy farm grants
12 Nov 03 |  South East Wales
'Puppy farm' grant row
13 Jun 03 |  South East Wales
'Huge rise' of puppy farming
26 Aug 03 |  Wales


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