Published On: Fri, Jun 26th, 2015 on 12:47 pm

Campaigners protest outside Leeds puppy superstore

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A protest has taken place outside dog sellers Dogs4Us in Leeds, who have been accused by campaigners of being linked to ‘puppy farms’.

On Sunday, campaigners gathered outside the branch chanting and giving out leaflets calling for a boycott.

Dogs4Us Protesters Leeds

Some of the protesters on the day.

The campaign was set up following a Channel 5 News investigation several years ago which documented Welsh puppy farms where dogs were filmed living in squalid conditions.

Luke Beevers, spokesman for the campaigning group, said: “Dogs4Us were exposed by Channel 5 News and Sky News buying puppies from puppy farms. These dogs are raised in cruel conditions and suffer a number of genetically acquired illnesses from the level of inbreeding that they are subjected to.

“Many people have contacted us to inform us dogs they have bought from the store suffer terrible diseases or in many cases have even died. We urge members of the public to adopt animals rather than buy them.”

During the demonstration, one protester was allegedly arrested after a complaint but released shortly after without charge.

A spokesperson from Dogs4Us said: “Dogs 4 Us is a well established reputable business, licensed and regulated by the Local Authority.

“Our stores are purpose built and all our staff are well trained and care emphatically for the puppies we sell. Our puppies are of the highest quality and our breeders are licensed and regulated by their own Local Authorities.

“With reference to the Channel 5 programme some six years ago there was no evidence of puppy farming and the producer of the programme confirmed this to us.

“With regard to the small number of protestors who may attend our premises from time to time – they are the same handful of individuals that protest against animal rights, testing laboratories, dog racing, etc. It is also alleged that many of these protestors have been to Court for offences committed such as damage to property, malicious phone calls, threatening/intimidating behaviour to staff members etc etc and their actions against licensed businesses such as ours.

“We do not find anything peaceful in relation to their protests they appear misinformed about the realities of our business.”

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  1. Emma walshaw says:

    Care and empathy are words I wouldn’t use for the owners or staff here. My puppy was in a terrible state when I got him home. He had ringworm, fleas, bad teeth and hip dysplacia. When I called to complain they told me to being him back and they would have him put down. I still have my dog and he’s about 8 yrs old now but still suffers with his hips as I couldn’t afford a hip replacement costing 4k. The owners and staff should be disgusted with themselves for selling animals that have been brought into the world in such bad conditions just to make someone a few pounds. I hope they get closed down and all the breeders on their books with them

  2. Annabel says:

    There is no way that puppies should be sold from anything other than a home environment, with their mother present and the breeder present. Any reputable breeder would want to quiz the prospective buyer about what sort of home their well cared-for puppy was going to. This kind of third party selling of companion animals such as dogs is wrong and Dogs4Us are a prime example of this. #wheresmum

  3. Sandra Morris says:

    I find it extremely worrying when Dogs 4US decide to sell pups to just anyone who wants a pup. Any reputable dealer (and that is what they are) would vet the potential new owners first to satisfy their caring attitude (which is what they claim to have) and to ensure the long term well-being for the pups in their care. Every ‘not for profit’ rescue organisation does home checks to ensure that the animals in their care are going to have the best life they can. Dogs 4us do not do this for the pups and that is a concern to me. They claim their staff are knowledgeable about pups, this may well be but a shop assistant in a washing machine shop is also knowledgeable about his product for sale but the pups at Dogs 4us are living, breathing animals with the ability to feel pain and experience fear and cannot be simply fixed with a screwdriver if broken. Ensuring the pups are in safe, knowledgeable homes ensures a happy, healthy dog, one that will live with it’s family for the rest of it’s life. I am deeply disturbed by Dogs 4us statement in your newspaper as there is not one ounce of empathy for the pups future well-being nor for the parents of the pups. The statement includes the reference to the puppy farm where the pups have allegedly come from and if Dogs 4us were truly knowledgeable and caring as they deem themselves to be then they have nothing to hide. To allay all doubt Dogs 4us need to provide customers and concerned members of the public with all traceable and contactable background history on all of the pups for sale on their premises. After all customers and the general public are told where a washing machine they intend to purchase is manufactured and by whom. If Dogs 4us have nothing to hide then tell us and show us where the pups came from. If, as Dogs 4us say, the pups come from reputable, registered, licensed breeders then those breeders will be more than happy to chat with the future or present owners of their lovingly bred pups and show off with pride the parents of said pups.
    I wish for the day that Dogs 4us stops lying to us and tell us where Dogs 4us puppies really come from.

  4. paula jeffreys says:

    This cruel trade in puppies needs stopping, now!!! Profit should NOT come before animal welfare and sadly when puppies are sold in pet stores, they will have come from puppy farms, where cruelty is all they know.

  5. Fiona Revell says:

    The fact that puppies are sold in what is basically a supermarket says that dogs4us doesn’t care for dogs. Any reputable breeder would never sell dogs in this manner so therefore one has to assume your dogs do not come from reputable sorces.
    As for protesters being related to intimidation etc this has long been an unfounded allegation levelled at animal rights groups and the majority of cases that make it as far as court are proven to be exactly that, unfounded allegations.

  6. Konkie says:

    Disgusting. No reputable breeder would hand their puppy over to what is essentially a supermarket. My breeder wanted evidence of where my dog was going, how I was going to treat her and asks for regular updates. Also if there’s ever any reason you can’t keep your dog a good breeder will take it back at any stage in it’s life, unlike this purely for profit business.

    Good breeders don’t even need to advertise never mind sell their puppies to places like this who sell on for a profit. The first 16 weeks of a pups life are so important they shouldn’t be spending some of it in pens waiting for a loving home.


  7. Lesley says:

    Where’s mum, locked in a barn churning out litter after litter until she’s of no further use? no reputable breeder would ever allow their puppies to be sold in pet shops, STOP PUPPY FARMING – BOYCOTT DOGS4US

  8. Boycott Dogs4Us says:

    With regard to Dogs4Us’ statement, we would like to point out the claim that Dogs4Us is “purpose built” says nothing about the welfare standards the building provides. For example all factory farms are purpose built. The place for a dog is in a home setting not a pet store. This said however our primary concern is not with the conditions Dogs4Us have in their store but rather the puppy farms that supply them. Dogs4Us say these puppy farms are licensed breeders – they are. However they are based in areas of Wales where the local councils refuse to enforce animal welfare legislation. Besides, intensive chicken farms are perfectly legal but clearly do not offer a high standard of welfare – puppy farms are no different.

    It is amazing that Dogs4Us claims that the images shown on Channel 5 and Sky News did not show puppy farming. The footage showed puppies being kept in windowless, filthy sheds with no access to fresh water. Both the puppy farms have since been raided by the RSPCA with dogs being taken.
    Dogs4Us says this footage is 6 years old however stories of sick puppies continue to flood in and as they can’t see anything wrong with the conditions exposed by this footage they are clearly sourcing puppies from the same or similar suppliers. If Dogs4Us doesn’t see this as puppy farming then the public can make up their mind as to whether Dogs4Us is qualified to comment on what is or isn’t “responsible breeding.”

    Dogs4Us is mired by allegations of criminality against critics – they have posted defamatory harassing blog articles against detractors showing photos of their homes. They are alleged to have made threatening, abusive comments about innocent members of the public. It is also alleged that they slashed the tyres of an unsatisfied customer and one staff member in a managerial position has a criminal record which includes a racially aggravated crime. The management of Dogs4Us has a history of bankrupting their own company and restarting it again so as to avoid tax and avoid paying creditors what they owe them. Not what one would expect from a legitimate business, rather it is the tactics of a dodgy company with something to hide.

    We have a good working relationship with the local constabulary who attend all our protests. Our protests are conducted entirely peacefully and within the law.

    For more info and to watch the Sky News footage Google “Boycott Dogs4Us”.

    • Mandy Dumont says:

      Well said and I have been on the receiving end of threats from Dogs4Us and others involved in this vile thread so I will confirm the allegations of harassment. Anyone who would be involved in profiting from the suffering of animals like this has no scruples.

  9. janice cristoe says:

    Disgusting dogs 4 us should be closed down and never ever to be reopened, puppy farms are so cruel, my motto ADOPT DONT SHOP

  10. Sue Price says:

    Puppies should never be sold in this way. No home checks, no follow up visits…it’s wrong and should not be allowed.
    Where are the poor pups parents? No respected breeder would ever allow thier pups to be sold in this way.

  11. Julia Youd says:

    The sale of puppies in this way is disgusting. There are thousands of stray and abandoned dogs, including, puppies in all corners of the UK. People should go to their local rescue centre nx give a fog a second chance. If they insist on a pup they should go to a reputable breeder.

  12. Local PCSO says:

    I am a local Police Community Support Officer in Bramley where Dogs4us is located. While I must remain anonymous because of my job, I feel the need to clarify the situation to David. The protesters have always been peaceful and polite when I have attended the store. Conversely, I have had many complaints from former customers of Dogs4us about their puppies becoming sick and Dogs4us being unwilling to help. As a PCSO I have had to inform them that this is outside my jurisdiction and that they must take up a complaint with the local Council. It is disheartening that this store is allowed to operate in our community yet we are powerless to act.

    • Janetta Harvey says:

      interesting to read your response. Its amazing the allegations and lies that get thrown around by pet shops and puppy farmers the world over. I applaud all the peaceful protestors, just wish we could be there with them.

    • Mandy Dumont says:

      Thank you for posting this. Peaceful protest is legitimate and necessary and will help to educate people and so help to stop this vile trade.

    • Mary Maistrello says:

      I am one of the protesters, and I thank you very much for your comments.

  13. John says:

    David, the police attend all the lawful protests at Dogs4us and there is never any obscenities used (in front of children or otherwise). Dogs4us staff on the other hand have used a number of obscenities towards protesters and other innocent members of the public.

    That said, whether or not you support the protesters you agree that puppy farming must be stopped. If people boycott Dogs4us (and similar establishments) and get their puppies from rescue centres this can be achieved.

  14. David simms says:

    I actually have to disagree with the protesting. As they say they are a licensed premises, to make a difference parliament needs to act but this failed as it was in the commons last year. I have seen the extent of what these animal rights activists are capable of. If you Google the spokespersons name you will see that he is a convicted criminal. There are ways in which to conduct yourself and make yourself heard , by screaming obscenities at the people who work there in front of children is a despicable act in my eyes. After all most of the products these people wear and the drugs we use are from animals or been tested on animals …. They get treated a lot worse than the regulated industry this company chooses to be in.

    • Sue Price says:

      I think you will find the majority of those protestors are vegans so won’t be wearing anything from animals. I have been to several of the protests and haven’t heard any ‘screaming obscenities’. Things will always get heated when people are passionate about something. I for one, am glad there are people out there who are prepared to speak up for the voiceless. The government don’t appear to be prepared to make changes, so it’s really not surprising people chose a different way to get their message across.

    • Mandy Sullivan says:

      So its ok use another sentient being as a breeding machine & make a business out of their misery but god for bid anyone use swear words in front of the children! You sir are exactly what is wrong in this world! when did anything ever get accomplished by writing strongly worded letters? that’ll be never then.

      This practice needs to be stopped

    • Janey read says:

      Have you seen the condition if the parent dogs? I presume not. Campaigners are the voice of the thousands of lonely bored and abused dogs still trapped in these farms. Dealers get two dogs out the public sees nothing if the ugly truth. These dogs take a long time to rehabilitate as they are shut down mentally. You cannot be a dog lover. I urge the public to wake up take a look at puppy love campaigns see for youself the conditions these dogs are kept in. Many have her ear skin issues all untreated. They live in sheds locked in the dark with no access to walks and no arms ever cuddle them. Their existence is hell. Onwards do turn research before till buy. Also try and educate yourself a bit before showing your sheer ignorance.

  15. Maggie says:

    Puppy farming is the industrialised breeding of dogs and must be stopped. The dogs are bred and bred until they are no longer of use, they are then discarded – if they are lucky they are rescued by someone who actually CARES about them – or they are killed.
    Selling of puppies in shops or stores is the commercial arm of this disgusting, vile, cruel trade.
    Dogs are sentient beings and make great companions and family members – they are NOT a commodity

  16. wendy wright says:

    Reputable breeders do not sell puppies to pet shops.Puppies should be seen with their mum.Where is mum?In a puppy farm being bred to death.

  17. Kathleen Jaeger says:

    Come on!! Who do you think you are kidding? What reputable breeder would let their puppies go to this sort of establishment? However suitable you may think it is… isn’t, and the puppies mother’s suffering continues. The campaigners are voicing the opinions of many and have the backing of the informed. The more people who understand the truth of the background of these puppies, the less will buy from you. How can you support the cruelty that Is Puppy farming? Oh yes I forgot….profit.

  18. Mandy says:

    Come on Dogs4Us – you really must think people are stupid. Of course you sell farmed dogs and of course they are often interbred and set up for a lifetime of poor health and sometimes no life at all. Do the right thing and stop perpetuating the cruelty. And stop lying about it too.

  19. Janetta Harvey says:

    “Our stores are purpose built and all our staff are well trained and care emphatically for the puppies we sell” – that’s a meaningless statement. Purpose built? Unless it’s a comfy, peaceful, normal home, it’s not a suitable environment for a puppy to spend any time in. A shop is not the place for a puppy. Anyone who knows anything about puppy welfare, their psychological needs and sensitivities, knows that. And, who’s caring for the parents the puppies left behind in the puppy farms? The puppies are the end result of a chain of animal cruelty.
    “Our puppies are of the highest quality and our breeders are licensed and regulated by their own Local Authorities.” – meaningless once again. There are many documented cases of licensed puppy farms where dogs have been found to be kept in appalling conditions. And they’ve been licensed by the local authority. That’s certainly no reassurance. The system of licensing is failing and anyone who knows about the puppy trade – which Dogs4Us presumably do know, as it’s the business they’re in – knows the licensing of puppy farms and breeders is inadequate and not something to trumpet as a selling point.

  20. Mae Barton says:

    It is bad enough that dogs are still being bought and sold commercially in order to line the pockets of unscrupulous business owners and made worse by the fact that all too often the dogs involved come from highly suspect breeding facilities. The puppy farms cited on the Channel 5 programme, which filmed several dogs ultimately to be supplied to Dogs4Us, were seen to be living in the most appalling conditions. Any weak attempts by Dogs4Us to dispute their connection with such puppy farms is nothing more than a cowardly attempt to save face and to retain the profits they make via their extremely unpleasant trade in animals.

  21. Faye says:

    I thought we had moved on from selling puppies is pet shops! RSPCA advise to always see mum when buying a puppy! What happens to the unsold puppies? Which rescue do they use? I have an ex rescue from a puppy farm in Wales she was frightened of human contact, couldn’t walk properly and needed medical treatment. Dogs 4 is us need to stop selling puppies.

    • Janetta Harvey says:

      As well as the RSPCA all animal welfare organisations say puppies should be seen with mum, acting naturally. DEFRA’s own guidelines state this too. Puppies are not sold in some European countries and an increasing number of US states are banning them. The UK is falling way behind many countries by allowing places like Dogs 4 Us to exist.

  22. Jenny says:

    Where do they get all these puppies from then if not from places that mass breed, and that in itself is farming puppies is it not? As for the ‘regular’ protesters – I have never protested outside any premises in my 60 years, but I would have been there if I lived close enough. I hate this whole mass breeding in disgusting conditions, and as for them being ‘licenced’,that just means they pay a fee to the Council, and then get away with treating these living creatures like reproduction machines with no consideration of their mental health, never mind their physical wellbeing. Simply disgusting. Even if they claim that they ‘comply’ with legislation, that means virtually nothing when the legislation is utterly inadequate, and seldom ‘policed’ or enforced. In a so called ‘civilised’ and ‘animal loving’ country, this is simply cruelty sanctioned by the law, and utterly unacceptable to me and any real animal lover, or even anyone with a heart! Am sure any well respected animal welfare organisation, such as the R/SSPCA would be able to give you damning stories/evidence that this goes on. And if it goes on, where else are these shops getting their puppies? What responsible breeder would allow their puppies to be sold to any old Tom, Dick or Harry with no concern for their future well being or the suitability of the home? None I suspect.

  23. Sabine holliday says:

    So they get the puppies from reputable breeders?
    Because that is of course what reputable breeders do!
    And the staff care emphatically for the puppies? What about over night?
    What about when they haven’t sold and get older?
    This business needs to be stopped nationwide. I am aghast to know puppies are being sold as merchandise in this day and age! It’s unbelievable.

  24. John says:

    Dogs4Us will not release who there suppliers are, that says it all.
    They post photos of the homes of anyone that protests against them via their blog. Their staff member swear at and threaten all who oppose them. They are truly scummy people that scam their customers with over-priced, poorly bred puppies.

  25. Andy says:

    The evidence speaks for itself.. as does the fact that we turned away at least 10 potential customers of dogs4us at the last protest I attended there, simply by informing them of the irrefutable evidence against this disgusting company. Yes, most of us do demonstrate against other injustices with regard to animals, I personally am a hunt saboteur and extremely proud of it. How dogs4us consider our actions to be non peaceful is beyond me. Ours is a philosophy of peaceful, non violent protest.. to educate and to inform. We give a voice to the voiceless. Unfortunately I couldnt be there at the last protest but I will certainly be at the next and we will continue untill this sick exploitation of these beautiful animals comes to an end.

  26. Lesley Nuttall says:

    I attended this protest and we didn’t even enter the car park. It was a peaceful demonstration and proud to be a part of it. Ps I have no criminal record!

  27. nicola meddins says:

    I’m ashamed to say I’m from Carmarthenshire, a county that is rife with puppy farms. If I could put them all out of business I would, but until people start rescuing rather than being breed selective it won’t end. We have 8 rescue dogs at the moment and they are no different to the ones people pay extortionate amounts for from these unscrupulous breeders. People’s opinions need to change all dog is a dog regardless of pedigree. ADOPT DON’T SHOP!!

  28. Amanda Eivers says:

    They say their breeders are reputable, yet they wont name them. If I was a reputable breeder I would want my name to be shouted from the rooftops. Puppies should be running around together until the last one gets homed, not sitting in a box on it’s own with a stuffed toy! A badly socialized dog “could” potentially be an aggressive dog.

  29. Emma says:

    No evidence of puppy farms!? That is laughable. There is a multitude of upset out of pocket pocket people who have bought dogs who have suffered terribly and died.
    Disgusted that this vile trade is still being allowed to continue. No reputable breeder would ever sell their babies to a pet shop

  30. Aran Mathai says:

    It is amazing that Dogs4Us claim that the videos shown on Channel 5 and Sky News do not show puppy farming! Dogs were being kept in windowless sheds without light or heat. Puppies were ill due to poor breeding practices. Clearly this is acceptable conditions in Dogs4us eyes! You can see the video and judge for yourself. Google ‘Boycott Dogs4us’.

  31. Mandy Dumont says:

    All credit to the campaigners and please ignore the quote from Dogs4Us. No ethical, caring, responsible breeder would sell their puppies to a pet shop or other dealer. Many councils do not enforce the welfare requirements for licensed breeders or dealers so licensed means nothing. Always see a puppy with its mother or preferably adopt from a rescue.

  32. Timothy Mitchell says:

    If there was no evidence of Puppy farms in the 2 programs mentioned maybe Dogs 4 Us would care to comment on the fact that the RSPCA raided both the Puppy farms featured and removed dogs from the property?…. No did not think so.
    Or maybe they would care to comment on the many dogs bought from them that are so ill they have to be put to sleep?
    Once again that seems to have slipped their minds or more like they hope that is they don’t mention it maybe it will go away, well guess what it’s not going to go away as will be evidenced by the next protest at their Manchester Branch.
    Adopt don’t Shop

  33. Rachel mathai says:

    I agree with Peter Gane -Dogs4Us was exposed by Channel 5 News and Sky News for sourcing the puppies they sell from cruel puppy farms – I do not know what they mean when they say there was no evidence of this.

    They say they care emphatically for the puppies – now is their chance to demonstrate this by ending the sale of puppies – this is the only humane option.

  34. Peter Gane says:

    So there was no evidence of puppy farms which supplied puppies to Dogs 4 Us in the Channel 5 film, according to a company spokesperson.
    What exactly would she call establishments where the dogs were filmed living in concrete pens in agricultural buildings with no fresh water or natural light and surrounded by their own excrement, which a respected vet described as “the worst conditions he had ever seen animals kept in” then?

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