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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
'Puppy farm' grant row
Animal sancturies are struggling to house stray dogs
Grants to fund new puppy farms in Wales have been condemned by animal welfare organisations.

The Welsh assembly has introduced the grant as part of their Farming Connect Service to help farmers to diversify.

Farmers can apply for the money to set up dog breeding facilities under a scheme for capital works which will help pay for kenneling and exersise yards but not the purchase of the animals.

But a number of protests calling for the grant to be scrapped have been made by animal welfare workers.

They say that there are already too many dogs which are abandoned every year in the UK and animal sancturies are being stretched to the limit because of the problem.

Kate Woodman, the assistant manager of Cwmbran-based All Creatures Great and Small animal sanctuary, said there was no need for any more dog breeding facilities to be set up.

In my opinion there are already too many puppy farms and I find this grant absolutely ridiculous
Mo Davie, campaigner

"There are too many dogs at the moment that are unwanted and if people keep breeding them then the problems is just going to esculate," she said.

"It is going to snowball and become something huge.

"I think that there are far too many dog breeders around and I think this grant will just help to double or treble the problem," she added.

Her views were supported by Mo Davie, who runs a Cardiff company called A Dogs Life, which monitors dog breeders.

"We do not need any more puppy farms," she said.

"Sanctuarys are being inundated with puppies which have been abandoned.

The assembly has said that animal welfare is 'important'

"In my opinion there are already too many puppy farms and I find this grant absolutely ridiculous.

"There has been a big problem with sub standard puppy farms treating their dogs cruelly and producing dogs that are in-bred, genetically ill with behavioural problems and the animals are suffering.

"We don't need any more puppies," she added.

The assembly said that the grant which has so far been awarded to two farmers in Wales would only be awarded if the farmer was trained in animal welfare and hygiene.

'High standards'

In a written statement the assembly said: "We recognise the importance that needs to be given on the highest forms of animal welfare and grants under the scheme are expected to provide high standards and benefits for the animals."

But campaigners have said they are not convinced that enough will be done to monitor the way the puppy farms set up from the grants will be run.

Phil Buckley from the Kennel Club said: "There are over 100,000 dogs which stray each year and we don't think any more puppies are necessary.

"What we are concerned about is that dog breeding takes years to become experienced in and we have in effect, novices who are considering breeding dogs and it is quite a scary prospect," he added.

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