Underage Labs and labour

A friend of mine has this friend.... and no I'm not talking about me having an embarrassing problem I can't admit too - this is a genuine case of a second generation problem! I've never met this friend of a friend but have heard lots of about her. My friend is a bit of an angel and is always trying to sort this other woman's life out. To help the kids and save them from the chaos that usually surrounds them. Take them out at weekends, feed them, show them a different life.
I hate to come over all stuffy and judgmental, but I need to set the scene.
Think small house, think five kids between 3 years and 15 - some her's, some his, some their's. One of the kids has a social services protection order on it to stop his parents beating him up.
Surprisingly nice kids, just a bit wild. Eldest has started running away from home and school.
They have two dogs - both Labs. The female not much more than a pup.
There was a sort of plan to breed from these two dogs in the future - mum says she wanted to KC reg them - presumably to get more money from selling the pups. Money is very tight in this household.
Their previous Lab was put to sleep as it got hip dysplasia and they couldn't afford to treat it. Both current Labs are untested for all health conditions because they "cannot afford it".
The plan was not to have pups until the mum was over a year old - so when she came into season they told the dogs not to mate whenever they saw the male dog mounting. The two dogs sleep together unsupervised. Not much of a plan.
The Lab bitch started to put weight on a few weeks after the season.
As doggie friend of a friend I was asked how you tell if a bitch is pregnant.
I send back the message that's its time to go to the vet.
He scans and finds four heart beats.
There's not much space in the house, so they decide to put a stair gate across the front lobby and only use the back door in future. That the Lab can give birth by the front door. They look on ebay for a whelping box - but decide they can't afford one. So they'll just use the existing dog bed - a small hard plastic one.
The plan is to sell the pups on the net and in the local free papers. The friend in common is already getting pressure from her son to buy one of the pups when they are born. She lives in a first floor flat. She can't afford pet insurance, but she fears that when the pups are born the pester pressure will be too great.
What do I say?
I said a lot. A reality check on rearing puppies in a tiny porch with five kids for a start.
I suggested Labrador Rescue taking mum before the pups are born and managing the whole thing so these poor innocent mites find safe homes where the process won't repeat.
But would they let them have mum back afterwards friend of friend asks? To have a 'planned' litter next season. Would they give any of the money from selling the pups?
I just know these people are not going to accept any help, that the lure of the dosh and the pseudo excitement of having pups is too great.
I fast forward to pups being four weeks old if they survive that long - stair gate proving useless. The smell, the noise in that already crowded house.
How do we stop this happening - when it can by just two moves away from me, someone who campaigned for 20 plus years against just breeding for dosh without doing any tests.
And if she shifts the four little unregisterable ones, the next litter is going to be KC reg and worth even more money - who knows she'll probably go for Accredited Breeder status.
It's depressing isn't it.
We're launching our Furry Godmother service in the next magazine.
Wish I could wave my magic wand and get those two Labs out of that house now!


Ems said…
I really wish I knew... show them the evidence that shows that breeding and raising puppies properly costs thousands, things going wrong costs thousands.. but then they will as people do, assume it wont happen to *them*, and sods law says it probably wont (but will happen to the breeder who takes all the right precautions and necessary steps).

Find a rescue willing to take the bitch, abort the pups and return her having had an 'emergency spay'.. risking them finding out about a catalogue of lies and never trusting a rescue again..

Id do it.. but im a disreputable bugger really.

Watch, helpless from the sidelines as a this car crash takes place...

If there was an obvious answer, you'd know it already I think.
Lorraine said…
It's a self perpetuating problem isn't it ?
Where did they acquire these two Labs from in the 1st place ?
Obviously they either lied to the breeder about their circumstances , or the breeder just saw £ signs & didn't check.
What is the quality of the Dog Warden service like in the area ?
They would have the power to go in & check conditions & either remove (if seen fit) or, make regular visits.
Skibble said…
The situation sounds terrible, but the dogs seem to be family dogs from how you have reported it and not abused?

Many breeders just have dogs as breeding factories, and churn out pups (KC Reg) and make money. They dont get love and affection as these labs might be getting albiet not in a perfect setting.

I know it sounds distasteful, but if money is tight, and they have cared for pets (ok, not the lap of luxury of heated kennels) then dont be too judgemental on the family?

Would you bat an eyelid if the Mum said she was having a baby? No, you would wish her well and hope she can cope for the next 18 years. If the pups get sold after 8 weeks, hope they go to a good home where they will be loved.
Anonymous said…
Skidge - I know what you mean, but seeing dogs or any animals merely as a commodity to be bought and sold is wrong. If the Mom was having a baby she'd be doinf for the love of the baby (hopefully) and at least she would not be looking to sell the baby.
It's all very well saying don't be judgemental, but if the pups are coming from a bitch that's too young her health might be damaged, and if the stock isn't health tested who knows what heartaches are stored up for those who buy the pups.
From the nonexistant grasp of dog behaviour these people seem to have I doubt it's a good idea for them to have a dog in the first place.
bugs said…
I despair when I read of people like this. Their basic knowledge of dogs is flawed, so what chance do the puppies have, or mum getting the right things done for her, especially if money is tight. I am not saying these people don't love their dogs, but they are very, very misguided if they think that puppies don't cost an awful lot to rear.
Chapstaff said…
Sadly this situation is all too common. I wish I had the answer.

In the long term maybe reintroducing dog licenses along with chipping might help. But then that's a tax on poorer people who genuinely try to do their best for their dog. And there will always be the ones who cheat the system.

I really don't think you or your friend are going to "get through" to this person. She obviously can't see what she has got wrong...with the dogs..........or her children.

doglovinglou said…
What a sad story. This is why so many dogs are up for rehoming or deemed "problem" dogs, because of irresponsible breeders...if you can even call them that. No matter who/what intervenes these people will have these puppies because the money is all they have flashing in front of their eyes.

How are they going to cope raising 4 puppies who are going to be toilting all over their house? They will not socilise them before they leave to there new homes. The Sire and Dam are not even health tested so these poor puppies are proberly facing a life of health problems that the unfortunate new owners are left with.

When will people learn?

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