|Kenzo and Viva (and Leo!)|
As this Belgium video documentary - with English subtitles - will show, that is not the reality at all:
That was an eye opener? More than 160 puppy mills and puppy trafficker operations in Belgium alone. One of the smaller countries in Europe about the size of New York. Maybe Belgiums see the American shows, but this documentary has not even been aired by the Belgium TV networks. That's why the rescue group behind, Animal Trust, decided to go viral. People must know.
When all that fine legislation is not enforced and too many loopholes exist, criminals continue to thrive. Nothing has changed. It has merely moved out of sight. Animal abusers are helped by the myriad of borders, out of tune national laws, corruption, the big buck, and differences in language which we call Europe.
And it is not just Belgium. According to Dutch research, the Internet is now the main source to buy a puppy in this country. Every two weeks, 86.000 animals are sold through the Internet, and in the case of dogs the majority (56%) of them is sold by private persons and traders, not by acknowledged breeders. They are coming from the remaining puppy mills or from puppy traffickers.
The pet store has been replaced by an Internet shop or a local eBay site. Through a network of brokers and middle-man they are directly related to puppy mills that now operate from Eastern Europe where the legislation is more lenient and control even more non-existing. They allow dogs to live in terrible conditions, cramped together in small cages without any health-care.
|Photo Credit: Purr Photography|
If you think the issue is isolated or the video shown is out of context. Think again. Here are some examples of operations that were exposed. As you will see on this video of a Dutch puppy trafficker, disguised as a reputable breeder. She first got into trouble, when puppies started dying within days of arriving at the new family. Aware of the problem, she started to falsify the birth dates of the puppies so she could sell them even younger, to be able to close the sale before the puppy died.
Some Dutch puppy traffickers even moved their point-of-sale over the border to Belgium - which is just some miles away, to bypass the Dutch legislation which is strict on consumer guarantees. In this video you can see an attempt of some of the duped families and a TV-crew to expose the puppy trafficker, and how violently they were chased out. A good reminder as well that you are dealing with criminals here, not with animal lovers or dog enthusiasts gone astray.
It happens in all Western-European countries. A recent example from Denmark: a woman was selling puppies from her home. She kept the puppies in the basement in horrible conditions, and received regular fresh supplies from a Polish puppy mill. And again, first when multiple people at once started to act upon their sick or dead puppy, this place could come into the spotlight. In Germany, PETA Germany exposed this puppy trafficker in Erfurt.
The transport of all those puppies is also only revealed accidentally. A delivery truck with more then one hundred puppies has to drive in a ditch on the German autobahn, or customs have to stumble upon them at the Danish border, before we start wondering where all those - too young - puppies are traveling to?
With few resources the animal rights organizations fight brave, but they can only reveal the tip of an iceberg. Politicians should accept that their legislation is not working. The examples mentioned above are not incidental at all, and a more clear picture arises if we would just connect the dots. Due to legislation that is not enforced, puppy trafficking and the Internet, the ban of our pet store sales and puppy mills therefore hasn't helped a lot, and has merely become well meant window dressing.
Europe, you are in need of a serious wake-up call..
About the author: Leo Scheltinga, Dog blogger from Denmark. Living in Copenhagen with his family and two Hovawarts. Blogs about daily life with his dogs, the Hovawart breed, tracking and K9 nosework, and anything else about dogs at Kenzo the Hovawart.