Why The Puppy Farming Story In Emmerdale Is So Important

The horrors of puppy farming are well documented, with new stories of terrible conditions and horrendous practices appearing in the media on a near weekly basis. We’ve all heard them and squirmed at the mere thought of what dogs in farms are subjected to on a daily basis. It doesn’t bear thinking about…

That, in fact, is one of the main problems – we don’t think about it.

We read a story, complain about how awful it is, then put down the paper and carry on with the day, rendering the puppies forgotten. Every incident is a snapshot that quickly gets lost in the back of our minds until the next heartbreaking story comes along.

Doing what the soaps do best, scriptwriters at Emmerdale are tackling the horrors of puppy farming in an eye-opening new storyline that started airing earlier this week. 

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The heart wrenching new storyline saw Zak and Sam Dingle and Lydia Hard visit the home of a woman whose dog had been found lost in the village. The dog, known as Monty, had clearly been mistreated by his owner.

Having become attached to the dog, Zak hatched a plan for the trio to rescue the animal whilst the woman was out, arriving at the property to find Monty tied up alone in the yard.

Whilst there they heard whimpering from a shed, from which a Dalmatian puppy bounded out and it was soon revealed housed “hundreds” more puppies.

In a later scene, it was revealed that the woman faced six months in prison after police officers arrived and assessed the scene.

Puppy Farming In The UK

The Kennel Club (KC) defines a puppy farmer as ‘a high volume breeder who breeds puppies with little or no regard for the health and welfare of the puppies or their parents’. In other words, their main interest is profit.

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As a result, their practices are often amoral and inhumane, frequently ignoring guidelines set in place to protect the welfare of the puppies. Such practices include:

  • Separating puppies from their mothers too early (8 weeks is recommended)
  • Ignoring guidelines about the maximum frequency of litters (the legal limit being 6 per animal)
  • Failure to socialise the puppies
  • Sell puppies through anonymous, independent third-parties
  • Keep puppies in poor conditions with a failure to apply adequate health measures

The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 (as amended by the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999) currently licenses breeding establishments and the sale of dogs, with local authorities first having to inspect and license breeding establishments.

Due to a lack of resources, funding and education, however, key signs often get missed, meaning that the puppy farming epidemic still exists in spite of refined laws.

We therefore always advise prospective owners to seek out an assured breeder to ensure that the puppy that is taken home is not scarred – both mentally and physically – by the perils of puppy farming. Otherwise, there are thousands of dogs across the country looking for a second shot a life, and we’d always advise owners to give proper consideration to adopting an animal.

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How Has Emmerdale’s Story Been Received?

After the episode aired, viewers of the soap quickly took to social media offering a mixed response towards the show’s writers for tackling such a sensitive issue that remains somewhat a taboo.

Whilst the negative reactions were largely focussed on the emotional distress that the story caused – largely due to the lack of exposure that puppy farming gets – one viewer gave the episode particular praise.

They wrote: “So delighted that Emmerdale are doing a puppy farm story and highlighting this inhumane and vile practice. I hope it will soon be outlawed in the UK.”

Quoting the #Lucy’sLaw, we couldn’t agree more that abhorrent breeding practices should be completely banned, with laws surrounding puppy farming in desperate need of change.

With any hope, the story will raise awareness and bring about a prompt change, saving thousands of puppies from the carousel of torment that is puppy farming.

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