Welsh vets are 'failing' dogs at puppy farms

After a 12 months, a BBC Wales Investigation found "filthy" conditions at breeding sites licensed - and approved - by councils, leading to calls for vets to be investigated over their involvement in the Welsh puppy farm industry.

As part of the licensing process breeders pay vets to check dogs to decide if they're "fit to breed".

But an expert panel told BBC Wales some vets' standards had "slipped" and they were "part of" a "broken system".

It claimed one practice - Aeron Vets - did not appear to question the environment dogs were being kept in, despite long lists of animals with serious health problems.

It also claimed some animals at two licensed sites were found with mange and intensely itchy skin conditions, and others were found with cysts, matted fur and eye problems, but the breeders were still re-licensed by the council, and vets failed to raise any concern about the sites in their official reports.

Aeron Vets said it had to respect client confidentiality, but that in any situation where it considered animal welfare was "compromised" it would "take whatever steps might be within its powers to address the matter".

The BBC showed footage from all the puppy farms it visited to a panel of vets with more than 100 years' experience between them.

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at The Dogs Trust, said: "It's hugely saddening and really quite upsetting to see the number of dogs that I've seen kept in those sorts of environments, and that's their life.

"It's just so wrong on so many levels.

"The system is definitely broken and vets are absolutely an integral part of it.

"We as a profession have a part to play."

Another senior vet - Mike Jessop - who is brought in by local authorities to advise on welfare issues, told the BBC there were clear examples where some professional colleagues have been "found wanting".

He said he would be making a referral to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons regarding the evidence in the programme.

Let's hope the Welsh Government will aoon introduce Lucy's Law, and follow England's example.