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Battersea Exposes the Real Price of Cuteness

27 February 2015

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

UK - These tiny Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies are incredibly cute but who would have known they were rushed into Battersea Dogs & Cats Home just hours old and are the innocent victims of backstreet breeding?

The pups are now seven weeks old and are about to go to new homes after receiving constant care from the world famous charity. But whilst their story has a happy ending, Battersea is concerned that thousands more puppies are being bred for profit and dumped when they fail to find homes.

The mother of Bear, Elsie, Heather, Mable, Moo and Ursula was a mature Staffie, who appeared to have had a number of litters and was found wandering the streets of London, heavily pregnant. Due to her age she was unable to give birth naturally and had to undergo an emergency caesarean, but despite all best efforts she didn’t make it and her pups were rushed into Battersea.

Seven puppies were born but one fell ill after two weeks and sadly died – possibly because she didn’t get vital first few weeks with her mum. The tiny beautiful puppies were far too young to be parted from her, so they had to be hand reared and given round the clock care from dedicated Battersea staff. This is such a risky time for new born puppies and during their first week they had to be bottle-fed and toileted every 90 minutes.

The breeding of dogs for profit by unlicensed backstreet breeders too often takes place in dirty, squalid conditions and is happening in neighbourhoods up and down the UK. As a result, puppies are taken away from their mothers too early and may develop serious health or behavioural problems.

Battersea has launched a campaign this month to crackdown on the cruel practice of backstreet breeding and is calling for a ban on the sale of puppies under eight weeks old.

Carly Whyborn, Battersea’s Head of Operations said: “Every day Battersea sees the consequences of backstreet breeding, from unwanted puppies to breeding bitches who have served their purpose. We must do everything we can to help bring an end to this careless and selfish practice that leaves so many dogs without a home.”

Puppies shouldn’t be parted from their mum or littermates before they are at least eight weeks old. From birth to when they leave the litter, puppies learn how to interact, play, bite and how to be dogs. They rely on each other a lot in their first weeks and need the warmth, comfort and milk from their mum which contains maternal antibodies to protect them.

This is why it’s so important to do the right research to make sure your pet isn’t from a backstreet breeder and it stays with its mother and litter for the right amount of time. Thanks to Battersea’s staff and volunteers these vulnerable puppies survived, but countless others are not so lucky.

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