If you don't know what this is, let me try to explain.
Shar Pei pups are very wrinkly when they are born and if the wrinkles fall over the eyes they can go blind without some surgical intervention - known as tacking. A staple or a stitch is used to hold the wrinkles out of the way to allow the eyes to still open until the dog grows into his wrinkles.
Not tacking a very wrinkly pup would be cruel as the pups would suffer, but how sad that little pups need this surgery in the first place. Wouldn't it be better to have a lot less wrinkle? Or even no wrinkle at all if they come at such a price. I know breeders have been trying to breed them less wrinkly but if tacking is still needed there's something still very wrong.
The writer introduced themselves as saying that they are a 'proper dog breeder' - not one in a breed that is known to have any health problems. But they were still too afraid to put their name and address to the letter. I suspect there are a lot of 'normal' dog breeders who find tacking highly embarrassing at the very least.
Is the anonymous writer just up to no good? Is tacking a figment of their imagination? Something really extreme that hardly ever happens? Would seem not..
The writer directed me to the dog world breed notes and I quote the relevant passage below.
"The helpline has been busy and the numbers of new owners seeking help with
their new puppies seems to be increasing. Sadly this doesn’t reflect too
well on some of the breeders, who often seem unable or unwilling to help and
simply refer the hapless and worried owners to the helplines. Some vets too
continue to show their ignorance of the breed by giving bad advice and
making things worse for the dogs rather than better.
"One choice case was of a first-time breeder who had one puppy whose eyes had
opened but at four weeks had progressively closed and clearly needed
tacking. Their vet agreed but pronounced that the puppy needed to be ten
weeks old before they would tack. However the case would be that after ten
weeks of discomfort this poor puppy would need more than a simple tack.
"Luckily, the breeder was put in touch with a Shar-Pei-friendly vet via the
stud’s owners and a simple tack done immediately has now led to a happy
puppy with no sight problems at all. It would be nice to think that all such
stories had equally happy endings."
The Kennel Club, in the run up to Pedigree Dogs Exposed, banned pups being shown post-tacking. See here for the link. But two years on it's still happening. Are we any further on? And how would you know if a dog had been tacked as a pup? Do vets routinely report this procedure to the KC? What exactly is a Shar-Pei friendly vet after all?