We are a nation of dog lovers; any instance of cruelty or neglect by a breeder is abhorrent. I would strongly urge anyone with evidence of these crimes to report it to the police.
Under existing law, anyone in the business of breeding dogs must be licenced and must demonstrate that their animals are being adequately cared for. They must not breed a bitch more than once every 12 months, nor sell a puppy younger than 8 weeks old to the general public. Dogs bred by "hobby breeders", who are not in business but do breed occasionally, are still protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, or fail to provide for its welfare.
It is crucial to recognise that we cannot expect the Government to defeat this problem by itself. Individually, we need to take care not to fuel demand for exploitative breeding by providing a market for poorly bred puppies.
Therefore I fully endorse the Government's advice to those looking to purchase a puppy only to consider buying from a reputable breeder, and to consult guides published by charities working with dogs. I am welcome to see that the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is offering such advice as part of this campaign; also available is the RSPCA's legally binding puppy contract, which should ensure prospective owners have all the relevant information about their new pet.