Blog #2 Patience is a virtue

Getting a dog, whether a puppy or an adult, is a huge commitment but bringing a canine companion into your home can be incredibly rewarding: dogs are loyal, loving, and constantly by your side whether you have had a good or bad day. In return for their faithful companionship, dogs need their owners to carry out a care of duty from the day they collect him or her through to their twilight years. In short, an elderly dog who requires extra care should be loved by the family just as much as the adorable ten week old puppy you picked up fifteen years ago. If you feel that you can offer a lifetime of love and care to a dog, then a four-legged friend will make a wonderful addition to your household.

When the decision to get a dog is made, the research into which dog will be most suitable must begin. When considering which breed to choose, you must evaluate your home and lifestyle. Some breeds will be better suited than others. For example, the increasingly popular Siberian Husky is a beautiful dog but they require considerable exercise (and not just an hour here and then when you can fit it in) which, when not delivered, leaves these incredibly intelligent dogs looking for other ways to be entertained. Conversely, a retired ex-racing Greyhound will be incredibly happy with a couple of twenty minute walks a day and then occupy the sofa! All dogs require their due exercise, but some need it in larger doses so their owners must work this into their daily routine.

pup photo 3

Our faithful canine companions require complete commitment from their owners

Other considerations that must be evaluated include: small or large breed? Puppy or adult? Dog or bitch? Rescue dog? Short coated breed with minimal grooming or a coated breed requiring regular grooming? Once you have decided on the breed, the next step is to learn as much as you can about them. What are their temperaments like? Are there any known health concerns within the breed? Would a male or a female dog be more appropriate?

So, who do you to turn to for this breed specific knowledge? In the online, instantaneous world that we live in today, it is incredibly tempting to log onto the Internet, carry out a search on your chosen breed, and follow the first website you come across. While there are a host of useful websites available online, the Internet is also home to the advertising of hundreds of puppies from unscrupulous breeders so prospective owners must be incredibly cautious not to be drawn in quickly to buying a puppy.

The Internet can be a good place to start your research, but meeting breeders face to face is the best way for you to ask all the questions you may have about a breed. For example, if you were interested in Italian Greyhounds, you would probably contact the Rescue Charity along with the Italian Greyhound Club. The next point of call could be attending an event where established breeders are known to be. The IGC hosts three shows a year where you can meet lots of IGs and talk to their owners. In addition, Crufts and Discover Dogs are two major canine events where breed booths are manned by specialists who can provide further advice about the breed.

pup photo 2

Don’t be fooled… IGs are not always this chilled!

By attending one or more of these events, you can hopefully get to know a couple of breeders and maybe register your interest in a puppy or older dog. They will probably invite you to visit their home, to see their dogs relaxed in their domestic environment. This opportunity allows prospective owners to see the dogs’ natural behaviour – are they a very relaxed breed or overexcitable? How is the breeder looking after their dogs? Will similar adaptions need to be made to your property to make it a suitable environment for a new dog? Is the breed what you expected it to be like? Any second thoughts? If any doubts arise in your mind, this investigative stage is the best time for them to be listened to. Getting a dog and then discovering you are not compatible leads to heartache for both the dog and the family.

Similarly, when visiting a breeder, they will ask you several questions about your home and what you could offer as a prospective owner to one of their dogs. It is essential that a good relationship establishes between a breeder and the owners of their dogs: the breeder is entrusting the new owner with one of their precious puppies, and likewise the owner needs to know that the breeder is a dependable source of advice and information should, at any stage in their dog’s life, they require assistance. Breeders should not cut off new owners as soon as they receive the money for their puppy.

pup photo 1

The first few months of a puppy’s life are crucial

So, you’ve decided that Italian Greyhounds are the right breed for you, and you want a puppy – what next? You will need to be patient. Established IG breeders in the UK do not breed frequently so you will need to wait for the right litter to be produced. Once born, you may like to visit the puppies when they are about six weeks old so that you can see your puppy with his mother and litter mates. Then, the collection date can be arranged. Puppies should not leave their dam until they are at least eight weeks old – this is a legal requirement. Most IG breeders prefer to wait until their puppies are slightly older: for IGs it is recommended that puppies remain with their dam until twelve weeks old allowing them to fully interact with their mother which can make training them later on easier. Therefore, if a breeder offers you to take a puppy before he or she is eight weeks old, you should be alarmed. Similarly, if the breeder is money focused, demanding deposits and pre-payments, this should also be a source for concern. And if a breeder refuses to let you visit their home, preferring to meet at a third party location, alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.

As a new owner, you should see your puppy with their mother and litter mates, you should never feel pressurised to purchase, and you should not ignore any negative gut feelings you may have. Choosing the right puppy or dog, from the right breeder, at the right time, is central to both your dog’s happiness and your own.

Blog #1 Whisper’s tale: an IG, some sheep & the authorities!

Our first blog is told by a 10 month old IG who joined the Charity last year and who is now happily settled in their new home. Here is Whisper’s tale of running rings around the authorities!

Whisper-centre-and-friends RESCUE BLOG

Here is Whisper, pictured in the centre with the green collar… butter wouldn’t melt!

“Hello everyone! My name is Whisper and I am an IG puppy who was rescued through the IG Rescue Charity in 2015. I am now very happy with my new owners and my four-legged companions. The story I am going to tell is that from an innocent walk that we went on recently which involves me, my four friends, sheep, and the police.

“My owners and I, joined by my furry friends, all went out for a walk on the moors where we all love to run and chase one another, while also investigating lots of interesting scents on the ground. Because livestock animals graze local to our walks, my owners are very proactive in training us how to behave properly around other animals. On this walk, we were all learning how to behave around sheep… My owners were clear with their instructions: dogs must not chase nor frighten sheep. While they were teaching this to us, my eye was caught by a white object some distance away. It had legs and was moving and it had friends, as my eyes soon spotted lots of white things. Right, time to investigate!

“Italian Greyhounds are rather inquisitive by nature. Whether it’s tasting the contents within your favourite mug or finding out more about white obscure objects, we want to know what’s going on! So I started off running towards the white objects that had captured my attention. My owners were calling my name I think, but my canine companions have taught me something called ‘selective hearing’ and I decided to try this out. As I got nearer to the white objects, they started to run and scatter in all directions. I tried to introduce myself to them all but none of them would listen to me – so rude.

“I soon gave up trying to make friends with the white objects and as my owners were still calling my name, I decided to return to them. I ran back, tail wagging and panting, but it soon became clear that they were rather unimpressed with me! One of them said, ‘Whisper, what were we just explaining to you? Do not chase sheep!’ The penny dropped. Those white objects were sheep!! Oooops.

“I quickly realised that I had been naughty and I’ve made a note (… somewhere…) and have vowed not to do it again. All forgiven you’d think? No, the drama was only just beginning…

“Soon after I had returned to my owners, some flashing blue lights could be seen approaching. Like my fellow four-legged friends, we were rather perplexed why the police had joined us on our walk. I am not sure what or who they were expecting, but when the police (including an armed policeman and a dog catcher) came to talk to my owners, they seemed somewhat surprised to be presented with five small dogs. Obviously the description given by the person who reported me for chasing the white things did not quite tally with the real situation. It soon became clear to the police that no harm had been caused to the livestock and they chatted and laughed with my owners while their report and assessment was completed.

“When the police left and we headed home, I was ready for a large nap! The excitement of the afternoon had been quite exhausting. I had learnt a big lesson – one must never, ever chase white things. I finished the day with a new title too – because my actions had been reported to the police and a report completed, I was given a police record. I’ve not heard of any of contemporaries getting a police record … Quite an achievement wouldn’t you say?”

Thank you Whisper for sharing one of your adventures with your new family. Mischievous but still loveable!

Illegal Italian Greyhound breeder prosecuted & banned for life by The Kennel Club

**UPDATE** 29th March 2016 **

Following this prosecution (please read below for full details) at the end of 2015, The Kennel Club’s Disciplinary Sub-Committee ruled that Susan Thomas would be banned for life from the KC. The KC has imposed the following disqualifications:

  • From exhibiting at, taking part in, attending and/or having any connection with any event licensed by the club;
  • From being or becoming a member of any canine club or society registered with or affiliated to the KC;
  • From acting as an officer or serving on the committee of any canine society;
  • From taking part in the management of any event licensed by the club;
  • From judging at any KC-licensed event;
  • From registering any or all dogs and/or progeny of such dogs who are owned and/or registered by her, whether or not jointly owned and/or whether or not owned and/or registered in the name of a nominee.

Further details can be found here.


A Rhydyfelin woman who continued to run an illegal, unscrupulous dog breeding business from her home, despite a previous prosecution, has been prosecuted again by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.

Susan Thomas, 57, is now banned from breeding dogs for five years and has been served an order to reduce the number of dogs she keeps. She must also complete a 12-month supervision order and investigations into her “business” finances, an estimated £10,500, continue.

DOC4[1]

Thomas faced Cardiff Crown Court on November 16 2015 after pleading guilty to the below four offences at an earlier hearing at the same court:

1. Keeping a breeding establishment without a license from the Council, contrary to the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973

2. Failing to ensure the needs of the dogs were met, an offence under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act

3. Engaging in a misleading commercial practice, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, namely making false statements about her name and address.

4. Contravening the same regulations by placing adverts and falsely implying she was not acting as a breeder.

The charges follow a second investigation into Thomas, of Heol Y Bryn, by RCT’s Licensing team in December 2013. Officers were contacted by the Italian Greyhound Rescue Charity, which reported concerns regarding Thomas’ breeding, advertising and sale of puppies and the conditions dogs were kept in.

DOC6[5]

The rescue had been contacted by a man from Bristol who had travelled to Rhydyfelin to view Italian Greyhound puppies being offered for sale online by Thomas, with a view to buying one.

He found three separate litters of puppies in the house and was concerned by the overwhelming smell of urine and mess in the house and the impact it was having on the dogs’ welfare, so he contacted the rescue which, in turn, contacted RCT Council.

At the time of this report, it had been 18 months since Thomas had faced Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court the first time, in May 2012, where she was convicted of failing to register with the Council, a legal requirement for anyone producing four or more litters a year, and for failing to allow the dogs in her care to exhibit their normal behaviour patterns, an offence under the Animal Welfare Act, by keeping them locked in cages for hours at a time. She was fined and given a 12-month conditional discharge on this occasion.

Despite this, she continued to breed and failed to register with the Council. Evidence seized by officers from Heol y Bryn in January 2014, following the latest report, uncovered paperwork, calendars, photos and online adverts proving she had produced at least five litters of puppies since her last court appearance.

One of the dogs found in the house during the search warrant was heavily pregnant, bringing the total number of litters to six, and dated photographs found on her computer suggested at least two more litters were born, but whose births were not registered to avoid raising concerns about overbreeding.

DOC3[3]

Mating records showed one dog had puppies in May 2014 and was mated again that September. The Breeding and Sale of Dogs Welfare Act 1999, which would have been applicable to Thomas had she met her legal requirement to register, states a bitch cannot be bred again for a minimum of 12 months after she has had a litter. Had Thomas been licensed, this would have been an offence.

Further investigation of the online adverts Thomas was placing to sell the puppies showed she was selling them as Phillip Williams from a Cardiff address. No one of this name or address exists. Thomas was selling the puppies under false details and the online profile she was using stated she was a “member” not a “breeder”. The false name and address was deemed to be an offence under the Fraud Act and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations. The fact she didn’t present herself as a breeder was also deemed an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

All of the information was seized during a search warrant which was executed at Heol Y Bryn by Trading Standards officers, accompanied by vet Karen Davies of the Maesglas Veterinary Group.

When officers arrived they were told there were 12 dogs in the property but their search actually uncovered 26 – three Chihuahuas, 16 adult Italian Greyhounds and seven Italian Greyhound puppies. There were pens, cages and baskets in the kitchen and the back garden.

DOC2[4]

There was dogs’ mess on the floor, the carpet was wet and littered with dirty puppy pads and there was an overwhelming smell of urine.

Vet Karen Davies completed a report on the dogs’ welfare and concluded they were at risk of sores because of the urine-soaked floor and distress was caused to older dogs due to the number of younger dogs in close proximity. The dogs were also at risk of injuring themselves on the litter they were surrounded by. These conditions were deemed to be an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.

Thomas admitted the offences and was placed on a 12-month supervision order and banned from breeding dogs for five years. She has also been placed on a limitation order, which also runs for five years, to reduce the number of dogs she has to four. This means as the dogs she has in her home move on or pass away, she cannot replace them and can only have a maximum of four dogs.

Licensing officers were unable to interview Thomas in any detail about her operation due to the fact she was not well enough to be interviewed.
However, Thomas told the court that she loved her dogs and cared for them, but admitted she may have overstretched herself with the sheer number of animals she had in her home.

She also told the court she had been suffering from poor health and was addressing this, but it had left her overwhelmed by the situation and perhaps not able to deal with it as she should.

DOC[1]

Paul Mee, Service Director for Public Health and Protection, said: “The legal requirement for breeders to have a license from the Council is there for good reason. It is so the integrity of the business can be monitored and the welfare of the animals involved maintained.

“Susan Thomas is well aware of this legal requirement as she found herself in front of a court in 2012 for exactly the same reason. Yet she continued to operate as a breeder without securing the license she knew she had to have.

“As a result of this, the business activities taking place at her home were not monitored or regulated, which resulted in over-breeding, poor conditions for the animals and welfare.

“It also meant the public were placed at risk as they were being misled about the nature of the business they were buying a puppy from and the name and address of the person making the sale was false, which meant any future issues or recourse would have been impossible.”

Helen Lister, Trustee and Chairman of the Italian Greyhound Rescue Charity, said: “The Italian Greyhound Rescue Charity will always take seriously any information passed to them regarding the welfare of Italian Greyhounds. It is pleased that these longstanding welfare issues of a particularly sensitive breed have come to an end. It also sends out a signal to any other breeders who think they can ‘puppy farm’ Italian Greyhounds.”

[This is the official press release from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council]

In October 2016 the courts fined Susan Thomas a total of £7,560.00, made up of £4,000 from her proceeds of crime (Illegally breeding Italian Greyhounds)  Legal Fees of £7,500 and £60 Victim surcharge. Read more here.

 

 

Missing IG, Found

dusty

Dusty is an elderly Italian Greyhound who went missing 10 May 2013,  when out for walk in the Dunwich Heath area, Suffolk. She became frightened,slipped her collar and bolted. Her owner spent a sleepless night worrying, and thanks to the efforts of Dog Lost volunteers, who were out loooking and postering the area early this morning Dusty was found safe and well today.

Dusty’s owner would like to thank Dog Lost and its volunteers for all their support and help.

If you don’t know about Dog Lost take a look at their website – you never know when you may need their help, and you may be able to help someone be reunited with their lost dog! www.doglost.co.uk.

Welcome to our new website!

MeMo

We hope that you find the content in our new site informative and helpful!

We’ve added lots of new content but most importantly we’re now set up to be able to update our site much more easily and blog about our rescue dogs (like Albie and Ruby), our work, as well as share our thoughts on all aspects of the Italian Greyhound world, particularly on health and welfare – and all at the click of a button!

Do check back from time to time or sign-up to follow this blog using the sign-up box to the right and every time we publish a new blog post it will be emailed directly to your inbox!

If you have any feedback on the site please don’t hesitate to email us on info@italiangreyhoundrescuecharity.org.uk.