A tiny dog has battled back from the brink of death after being found dumped alongside two dead puppies in Hampshire.
Poppy was about eight weeks old when when she was found, lifeless and struggling to breathe.
Poppy is now helping the RSPCA in Hampshire raise awareness of the consequences of irresponsible puppy breeding, after she was discovered discarded in a field alongside two dead puppies in Odiham on 12 January.
RSPCA Inspector Nicola Denham is hoping the story of the Chihuahua cross, and that of a tiny one-eyed pug, will encourage people to do their research to try to stamp out irresponsible puppy breeders.
Nicola said: ‘When I arrived I was greeted by a lethargic tan and white puppy not much bigger than my hand, whose chest I could feel rattling and her right eye was glued shut.’
Poppy was signed over into the care of the animal welfare charity, treated by a vet, and put on antibiotics but wasn’t expected to survive the next 24 hours. With help from a foster carer from an RSPCA branch, who has now adopted her, Poppy proved she is a fighter and is now helping to raise awareness of unscrupulous puppy breeders.
Nicola added: ‘She is now thriving and has turned from a lethargic dying puppy to one that is a bit cheeky and doing all the things a puppy should do.
‘This is the second puppy within a few months that I have taken into RSPCA care, the other being a sweet pug whose eye was left to ulcerate to the extent where it burst and she had to have her eye removed. No vet treatment had been sought and the the pug was malnourished, most likely the runt of the litter with breeders oblivious to the care she needed. Thankfully she has also now recovered and been successfully rehomed.
‘I am seeing more and more puppies being dumped if they fall ill. The people who are breeding these puppies for profit just see pound signs - not living sentient beings that feel pain like we do. Unfortunately if a vet’s bill will outweigh what someone will pay for the puppy then irresponsible breeders will not treat it.
‘Puppy breeding for profit is huge. I have seen some of the conditions these dogs are being bred in and my heart breaks to think that people are not aware of what is really going on.
‘I urge anyone concerned about conditions dogs are being bred in to contact us. It is illegal to let an animal suffer unnecessarily and withhold veterinary treatment. Anyone with information on puppies such as Poppy being dumped to die should get in touch.’
The warning and appeal comes as the RSPCA is already starting to see the effects of a soaring demand for a number of fashionable breeds.
The animal welfare charity has started to see an increase in the number of these popular breeds coming into its care, including a number of pugs and French bulldogs.
RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs, who leads the charity’s special investigations into the puppy trade, said: ‘There’s huge demand in England and Wales for certain breeds of dogs that have been popularised and glamorised by celebrities, social media and popular culture.
‘In this country, we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of people buying pugs and French bulldogs and now the RSPCA is starting to see that trend first-hand.’
‘Unfortunately, as responsible and reputable breeders of these types of dogs cannot keep up with demand, underground breeders and traders are filling the gap in the market and are offering buyers the chance to buy puppies at cheaper prices and without waiting lists - often with disastrous consequences.
‘This is the price of poor puppy breeding - consumers faced with sick and dying puppies who need expensive veterinary treatment or lifelong behavioural support; a surge in these breeds coming into the care of rescue centres and charities from people who did not do their research before taking on a dog that requires a lot of time and commitment; and an increase in the number of these breeds being abandoned either because, as puppies, they didn’t sell or became poorly, or as breeding stock they couldn’t produce litters any more.
‘Once again, organisations such as the RSPCA are left picking up the pieces, and the animals are paying the ultimate price - often with their lives.’
The puppy contract has been developed to empower puppy buyers and help them to avoid the problems that can arise from buying a puppy from an irresponsible breeder. Puppy buyers can use the information provided by the breeder or seller to make a decision on whether they want to buy the puppy they have seen. To download a copy visit: https://puppycontract.rspca.org.uk/home