Down with Puppy Farms

Everybody loves a puppy, but these days so many are bred in puppy farms purely for financial gain. If it is, chances are it will be ill and inbred, perhaps even illegally shipped in from Eastern Europe, and that its parents are living in squalid conditions, unvaccinated, starved of food, water and human contact.

Instinctively we want to save a puppy from a pet shop, but by doing this, all you are doing is feeding the breeders greed and ensuring the puppy’s parent, and others in the same situation, continue to live a life behind bars. Any puppies not sold when they are young and cute then end up in rescue.

Without demand, the puppy mill breeders will have no reason to continue in business. Please DO NOT buy a puppy mill puppy.

So how can you tell?

It is in a pet shop or for sale on the internet.

You are not able to see the parents.

The breeder doesn’t want you to see where they live.

The breeder is offering more than one or two breeds.

The breeder has more than one litter available, or coming soon.

The puppy isn’t vaccinated, and chances are that their parents may not have been either.

The breeder seems to be making unrealistic promises as to size, temperament etc. They are likely to be lies.

Puppy mill dogs are likely to smell like a kennel and have poor coat quality.

A reputable breeder will care what happens to their dogs. You will have a contract and an assurance that you return the puppy to them rather than abandon them to a shelter if anything goes wrong.

The puppy is being given when it is younger than eight weeks old. Chances are the breeder is trying to save the cost of feeding and vaccinating them.

puppy farm

There are always lots of puppies in refuges, some of them pure bred. Please consider adopting your puppy from there. If you buy a puppy, please don’t buy it from a pet store or from anywhere that you can’t see it with it’s Mum.


Nouveau Refuge Tarbes

Many of our members are based in the Poitou-Charentes and Dordogne, but there are little pockets of magic going on in many other areas of the country too.

In Tarbes, there are currently two refuges; both old, rundown and stretched with little time or resources available to improve and upgrade them.

Christelle, a volunteer at one of these refuges had a dream; to create extra space for the abandoned animals of Tarbes in modern, clean and pleasant surroundings.

She set up, and is president of, an association, Le Nouveau Refuge – SPA des Hautes Pyrenees, in June 2014 and spent all of last year searching for land to fulfil the dream, which was not easy.   At the same time she was meeting mayors and other “public” people to try to arrange funding and help in getting the refuge up and running, all this whilst as a widow raising three teenagers, holding down a job and still volunteering at the refuge.

She found a suitable site in Ibos and bought it in June of this year, a large plot of land with mature trees that will provide much needed shade in hot weather, and with a very sturdy building at the back which has been gutted and divided by brick walls into kennels; which will be for the “fourrière” and boarding kennels and cattery.

Nouveau Refuge Tarbes bldg

The purchase of the land and the building work is being privately funded by Christelle who has taken out a personal mortgage for the project. The first 6 chalets, out of a total of 21, are up and painted, the fourriere / pension floor has been tiled with gulley’s for the water to run into.  The kennel doors have been delivered and attached; the connection to the “mini sewerage” is a work in progress, the chalet for cats to lounge in is in place.

Nouveau Refuge Tarbes chalets

With a lot of help from her team of trusted and hardworking volunteer friends, she is currently working to clear the overgrown ground, including the lopping of lower tree branches. Everyone is very excited that they are revealing grass! That may sound silly but we all know how dogs and cats love grass, so different to the concrete at the other refuges in the area.

Nouveau Refuge Tarbes volunteers

Once the refuge is open it will be funded in various ways; hopefully from local communes with a contract for the fourrière ; boarding kennels; annual membership; donations and from adoption fees.  Volunteers will also continue to raise money by having stalls at open days at the refuge and other events such as vide greniers.

When the chalets are complete there will be space for 30 dogs for adoption, as well as 20 dogs in the fourrière. There will be two separate enclosures for up to a total of 50 cats, divided between those ready for adoption and those that need treatment or sterilising. They will have access to an enclosed outdoor covered area with grass and trees to climb.  A request to increase the number of dogs allowed will be made in 2016 and if accepted the refuge will be able to take up to 200 dogs.

The refuge will have an area for the dogs to run and play and also for people who want to adopt to introduce their current dog(s), if they have one, to the potential adoptee.  This area will also be used by the dog trainers to work with difficult dogs and teach the volunteers how to train the dogs with basic commands sit, down stay, walk, on and off leash etc.

The Official Opening day will take place in September although the pound is already in operation. We look forward to an update then.

In the meantime, funding and finding both experienced and non-experienced volunteers for labour, are the biggest challenges. At the moment experienced people are needed to put in place the poles and the fencing for the enclosures, the labour costs are astronomical so if anyone can offer some time, you would be warmly welcomed and a job can be found for you.

The website is under development, but contact details are there and there are regular updates on the facebook page of the association

Website: Nouveau Refuge – SPA des Hautes Pyrénées

Email address:

Faecbook page: Nouveau Refuge SPA des Hautes Pyrénées