The hidden side of the illegal puppy trade

The hidden side of the illegal puppy trade

The hidden side of the illegal puppy trade

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, FOUR PAWS draws attention to the suffering of mother dogs and their young

Zurich, May 6, 2024 – It’s almost Mother’s Day. A day that pays tribute to motherhood. And speaking of motherhood, what about animals? Puppies need motherly love too. On online classified ad platforms, we still often find puppies barely a few weeks old for sale, sometimes sick and traumatized, while their mothers are held in real breeding factories. For Mother’s Day, May 12, 2024, the global animal protection organization FOUR PAWS is launching an appeal to put an end to the illegal puppy trade and prevent terrible suffering for millions of animals.

“In puppy mills, breeding dogs vegetate in unsanitary cages – often without daylight or outside access. They receive no affection and are only cared for in a rudimentary manner. Their only function is to produce puppies. Again and again. Most of the time, babies are separated from their mothers when they are only a few weeks old and still being breastfed,” explains Janine Cirini, pet campaign manager at FOUR PAWS Switzerland. “The puppies themselves are deprived of their learning and socialization phase. They are taken from their mother at a time when their still fragile immune system should be strengthened by breast milk and when they should learn to interact with their environment and their peers. Separating too early generally leads to health problems and disrupted social behavior.”

Puppy mill hell

Puppies are herded into breeding centers, usually in Eastern Europe, before being transported to final buyers in dark boxes and stuffy trunks. Along the way, the animals often infect each other with parasites and diseases, so many puppies die shortly after being sold on an online platform. What they endure during their first weeks of life leaves psychological and physical trauma that can affect them for years. Mother dogs are no better off: their offspring are constantly being taken away from them. When they are ready to conceive again after a litter, they are bred immediately. This torture only ends when they are no longer able to give birth to puppies. When female dogs can no longer produce pups, they are killed or abandoned.

However, there are animal protection associations which take particular care of discarded breeding animals. Shelters for controlled animals, located near breeding centers, primarily take in dogs which, in the best cases, are surrendered anonymously or found abandoned in the surrounding area. Almost all animals are in a deplorable physical and mental state upon arrival. They then immediately receive veterinary care, are quickly sterilized and prepared for adoption, so that after all this suffering, they at least have the chance to live a few more years in safety.

The “Cute. NOW. Sick.”

In order to regularly draw attention to this subject and raise awareness among potential puppy buyers, FOUR PAWS launched the “Cute. NOW. Sick.” within the framework of which we find a checklist for the serious purchase of puppies.

You will find
more information on the puppy trade. In general, FOUR PAWS recommends always considering adopting a dog before purchasing one – many dogs are waiting for a new home in shelters.

QUATRE PATTES est l’organisation mondiale de protection des animaux sous influence humaine directe, qui révèle leurs souffrances, sauve les animaux en détresse et les protège. Fondée en 1988 à Vienne par Heli Dungler et ses amis, l’organisation plaide pour un monde où les humains traitent les animaux avec respect, compassion et compréhension. Ses campagnes et projets durables se concentrent sur les chiens et chats errants ainsi que sur les animaux de compagnie, les animaux de rente et les animaux sauvages – comme les ours, les grands félins et les orangs-outans – issus d’élevages non conformes aux besoins de l’espèce et ceux dans les zones de catastrophes naturelles et de conflits. Avec des bureaux en Afrique du Sud, en Allemagne, en Australie, en Autriche, en Belgique, en Bulgarie, aux États-Unis, en France, au Kosovo, aux Pays-Bas, au Royaume-Uni, en Suisse, en Thaïlande, en Ukraine et au Vietnam, ainsi que des refuges pour les animaux en détresse dans onze pays, QUATRE PATTES fournit une aide rapide et des solutions à long terme. QUATRE PATTES est en outre un partenaire d’Arosa Terre des Ours, le premier refuge en Suisse qui offre aux ours que l’on a pu sauver de mauvaises conditions de détention, un environnement adapté à leur espèce.



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L'utilisation des photos et des vidéos est gratuite. Elles ne peuvent être utilisées que pour les rapports portant sur ce communiqué de presse. Pour ce rapport uniquement, une licence simple (non exclusive, non transférable) et incessible est accordée. Une réutilisation future des photos et des vidéos n'est autorisée qu'avec l'accord écrit préalable de QUATRE PATTES.

Austrian law is applied without its reference standards, the legal forum is Vienna.

Contact Médias 
Sylvie Jetzer
Communication Suisse
QUATRE PATTES – Fondation pour la protection des animaux
Altstetterstrasse 124
8048 Zurich
043 311 80 90
 [email protected]

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