In small ads and on the Internet many puppies are offered, which come from dog factories from abroad. Dealers advertise to be able to offer a wide range of different (fashion) breeds. Often the young dogs are offered very favorably, but meanwhile illegal dog dealers try to pass themselves off also as respectable breeders and require higher prices. The suffering of these puppies is immense. They are usually separated from their mothers much too early, so that the socialization, which is very important for dogs, cannot take place. Instead of being handed over to their future dog owners during the imprinting phase between the eighth and twelfth week of life, the puppies usually stay with their mothers for only two to four weeks with the illegal animal traders. The consequence: Massive behavior problems of the animals, partly into the adult age.
Many puppies are weakened by the long transports and are barely able to survive. Mostly they are neither dewormed nor given the vital vaccinations. Also, when imported into Germany, the identification by microchip and accompanying documents such as the pet passport are often missing – or the papers are forged. Arrived at home with the buyer, the puppies quickly become seriously ill, many die despite intensive medical treatment. Because the new dog owners cannot afford the immense costs of the necessary veterinary treatment, sick animals often end up in the animal shelter. If the police and the veterinary office discover an illegal trade and confiscate animals, the animal shelters often have to take in many sick dogs at the same time – a mammoth task. Help now.
The suffering of the parent animals in the multiplier breeding
The cruel business with the puppies also leads to considerable suffering for the parents. The mother dogs are often abused for years as "birth machines", the males are injected with hormones so that they can mate again and again. The dogs vegetate in small kennels – without daylight, without contact with other animals, without environmental impressions and sounds, without human affection and without ever having set a paw on a meadow or a forest floor.
This male dog is visibly neglected and marked by his fate. © Bernese mountain dogs in need e.V.
The males live for years in solitary confinement, are pumped full of hormones and forced to mate with violence such as kicks or electric shocks. Afterwards they are immediately locked up again and only come out of their hutch for the next mating. They are therefore often even more traumatized than the bitches.
Also the breeding bitches are not treated like living beings but like production machines. They are newly mated in each heat. In serious breedings, the bitches are mated at most once a year, which means that they usually remain empty in one heat. The "breeders" neither pay attention to a special diet that pregnant and lactating dogs need, nor do they vaccinate or deworm the animals. The bitches have to give birth to their puppies on concrete floors and raise their litter there – until it is snatched away from them much too early.
The mother dogs live a life behind bars. © Bernese Mountain Dogs in Need e.V.
The bitches suffer from the enormous physical strain and from diseases, which arise from the bad attitude and missing care, like mites, worm infestation, bald inflamed and open skin places, deformities of the limbs, tumors, uterus inflammations and cysts. They are selected for breeding on the basis of their beauty and not on the basis of whether they are healthy. Also a possible hereditary predisposition is not examined. The puppies suffer therefore often from breed-typical hereditary diseases and the consequences of gene defects.
Without a future?
If the animals no longer provide the necessary performance, they are usually simply disposed of or killed. If animal welfare organizations manage to rescue the dogs from these stations, they usually do not live longer than two to three years, because the consequences of this attitude have physically exhausted them. Many dogs are so traumatized that they never trust humans again. There are also animals that can open up to people again step by step with a lot of love and patience. But this often takes years and is a very fragile process. Nevertheless, all these dogs undoubtedly deserve a second chance.