Man and two women summoned for unlicensed puppy breeding

A man and two women have been summoned under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 following illegal sales of puppies in the Bristol and Trowbridge area.

Summons were obtained by prosecutors at Animal Protection Services in July 2020.  Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic causing a backlog at the Magistrates Court, cases have been adjourned until at least October 2020. 

These prosecutions by Animal Protection Services are resulting from a large-scale investigation into unlicensed breeding by the charity.

A spokesman for Animal Protection Services said: “These cases being prosecuted by our charity should send a clear warning to illegal breeders that enforcement activity will happen.

If convicted, fines for this offence are unlimited and you may have to pay substantial prosecution costs, as well as putting yourself at risk of being disqualified from dealing in animals and a criminal conviction on your records.  It is simply not worth it.”

The charity will release further details following the court hearings.

Animal Protection Services is a registered charity that investigates and prosecutes organised animal cruelty. We are an unusual charity in that we both investigate and prosecute our cases, using powers contained within section 6 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.

We can only prosecute with your help!

As a small charity, we can only continue investigating organised animal cruelty with your help. Please text RESCUE £10 to 70470. Alternatively, you can visit our JustGiving page to donate:

Buying A Puppy: A Welfare Guide

Always buy a puppy from a licensed breeder or re-home from a reputable rescue centre.

A responsible breeder should be happy to be asked plenty of questions, and will ask a few themselves. They will invite you for a visit, or be accommodating when you request visits. They will want to ensure you can offer a good home.

Call the breeder before you visit – it is very easy to get distracted when you are face-to-face with cute puppies!

Prepare a list of questions, which should include:

  • Who are the parents? Are they both healthy? Have they been screened for inherited diseases? What were the results?
  • Are the puppies healthy? Have there been any health issues?
  • Have the puppies had routine veterinary treatments (e.g. wormer).
  • Will the puppies be vaccinated, or have they already been vaccinated?
  • Will they be microchipped?
  • Will the puppies receive any training, such as house training?
  • Will the puppies be well socialised?
  • Where do the puppies live? Are they in a home or kept separately? Are they used to people coming and going? Are they left alone or around people all day? Consider your own lifestyle here – is the puppy growing up in an environment similar to the one you can offer?

Try and make a note of the answers, or ask the breeder to email you with any answers and paperwork. If you have any concerns about a puppies health or you’re not sure about test results, please do consult a vet.

Visit the puppy where they have been bred

You should visit the puppy more than once at the place he/she was bred. Never agree to meet halfway or at a random location such as a different home or a motorway service station. And never buy the puppy after just one visit.

Check the area where the puppy has been reared – there should be evidence of a whelping pen (an area where the mother has given birth to and is raising her puppies). There should be plenty of bedding and food/water bowls.

meet the parents!

It is crucial to meet the puppy’s mother and siblings. It may not be possible to see the father, so in this case make sure to at least talk with his owner over the phone.

Look for signs that the bitch is the puppy’s real mother. Does she have large mammary glands ready for her pups to suckle? Is she accepting their attempts to suckle? Some breeders may try to pass another bitch as the mother, and this dog will likely try to avoid suckling attempts.

Ask about the parents. Have their been any health issues, or are there any now? What are their personalities like? What was their background?

Check Your Puppy’s Health

Watch your puppy and look for any signs of poor health or care.

The following are things to look out for, but this list is not exhaustive:

  • Skin (patches of sore or thickened skin, stains around their bottom indicating diarrhoea)
  • Fur (bald patches, dull coat, scruffy, black flecks that could be a parasite)
  • Eyes (red, runny, or crusty)
  • Nose (runny or sore patches)
  • Breathing (noisy, laboured, coughing)
  • Posture (crouching, hunched)
  • Body condition (very thin with ribs showing, limping or awkward movement)
  • Energy levels (weakness, fatigue, can’t play for very long)

If you have any concerns, check with a vet prior to purchasing your puppy.

Do not buy a puppy because you are concerned for their welfare. Please call us on 0330 120 0909 as soon as possible.

Ask to see the relevant records for any veterinary activity such as check-ups, screening tests, worming treatments, vaccinations, and microchipping.

Don’t choose a puppy just based on their looks

Choose a puppy from a responsible source who is healthy, well socialised, and happy!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Enjoy your new puppy and have a wonderful life together!

Witness Appeal: Fox poisonings in Hornchurch

We are appealing for witnesses after receiving reports of foxes being poisoned on Dury Falls Estate in Hornchurch, Havering Borough of London.

If anyone finds a fox and suspects the death may not have been from natural causes, please contact APS immediately so they can arrange recovery of the body and conduct a post mortem examination.

Causing the deliberate death of wildlife through poisoning is a very serious offence which can carry a significant fine and a prison sentence.

Thank you.

Witness appeal: CATWALK PETS & RESCUE

Have you re-homed a sick pet from Catwalk Pets & Rescue, or know someone who has?

We were very concerned to hear about Sidney the shih-ztu who was re-homed with a host of serious health problems and would like to hear from anyone else who has had similar experiences.

If you would like to submit a report, please ensure you are a first-hand witness and your purchase of the sick pet was within the last 3 years. This is due to legal constraints.

Submit information about animal cruelty.

You can read more about Sidney in the Daily Mirror. 

Thank you.

Two lurcher dogs in a cage.

Cracking down on third party puppy sales

Today (6 April 2020) the Government has introduced new landmark legislation to tackle low-welfare third party sales of puppies and kittens, by banning such sales.

The new legislation means that anyone who is considering bringing a companion animal into their home must either adopt the animal from a rescue centre or buy direct from a breeder. Breeders should also be licensed and show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. If a business sells puppies or kittens without a license, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.

Animal Protection Services has committed to enforcing the new legislation. It will carry out criminal investigations and prosecutions where offences are identified.

A spokesperson at Animal Protection Services said: “Firstly, I would like to congratulate the campaigners who fought long and hard for the new legislation. I also congratulate the Government for taking steps to introduce stronger animal welfare legislation within England. Secondly, I want to reassure the public and the local authorities that our investigation officers are ready to respond to any allegations of Lucy’s Law being broken.”

“We have the right to prosecute those individuals who are caught breaking the law. We will ensure that all disruptive strategies are deployed to any underground sale of puppies and kittens”, added the spokesperson.

If you have any information that could assist Animal Protection Services with their enquiries, please contact them on 0330 120 0909 or via the Report Cruelty facility on the website.

New organisation to enforce animal welfare laws

Founded in late 2019, Animal Protection Services is officially launching their organisation. Animal Protection Services is a team of experienced investigators and staff working to safeguard the welfare of animals.

As a newly registered charity, Animal Protection Services is aiming to make a huge difference to the welfare of animals by ensuring that the animal welfare laws are adequately enforced. It will do this by investigating and prosecuting organised animal cruelty, in particular but not limited to, puppy farming, dog fighting, and wildlife crime.

The organisation will also work with other enforcement organisations (the Police and Local Authority) and other welfare charities to ensure that swift action is taken in emergencies.

Starting 1st March 2020, there will be a new helpline (0330 120 0909) to report cases of organised animal cruelty. The website is, and the general email address is

“We are excited to form a new organisation that specialises in investigating organised animal cruelty. We have an impassioned and experienced team that is working to safeguard the welfare of animals”, said a spokesperson for Animal Protection Services.

Animal Protection Services will undertake its own prosecutions through its partnerships with solicitors and other legal professionals. The organisation will raise funds for its prosecutions through the website, CrowdJustice, allowing the community to get involved with our cases.

“We have the right to bring prosecutions and we fully intend on utilising that right to ensure that offenders are brought to justice and before the Courts. The use of disruptive strategies, including the Proceeds of Crime Act, are vital to ensuring that those who are committing offences against animals are paying the full price for their actions”, added a spokesperson.

The organisation has already completed its first large-scale puppy farming investigation alongside another leading animal welfare organisation. At the moment, the organisation cannot comment on this case due to legal reasons, however a spokesperson has said that “once the case is prosecuted, it will send shock waves throughout the puppy farming community that they are no longer invisible and they may never know when they are under surveillance until a court summons comes through the door”.

For more information or interview requests, please contact Animal Protection Services on 0330 120 0909 or email