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Breeder: We are no puppy farm

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: March 12, 2009

Puppies raised at Little Rascals

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An established Lincolnshire dog breeder has hit back at allegations in a BBC film that his dogs are caged in poor conditions on a "puppy farm".

The BBC's Inside Out programme last night broadcast claims that hundreds of dogs at the Little Rascals kennels in Brant Broughton were being kept in conditions that made them more likely to pick up diseases.

The film showed two people who claimed they bought dogs that became seriously ill shortly afterwards – and later became very aggressive towards their owners.

A total of 21 complaints, comments and questions have been lodged with North Kesteven District Council about the firm since 2004.

But partner Edward Swindells said claims the dog breeders did not take proper care of their dogs were "completely incorrect".

"The allegations are not serious," he said. "They are wholly inaccurate in the majority of instances and unfounded in the rest of the allegations."

For more on the BBC's Inside Out Investigation and Little Rascals kennels, see Thursday's Echo.

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  • Farah  |  March 15 2013, 8:39PM

    I forgot to say, they breed so many dogs that law of averages says that sometimes they will get it right. How someone can spend just 20 minutes and come away with an animal makes my hair stand on end!!! I can't imagine any reputable vet (apart from one in their employ!) recommending that anyone buy a puppy from a place like this.

  • Farah  |  March 15 2013, 8:27PM

    The thing that really surprises me about these posts is that all the accepted advice is not too buy from Puppy farmers! And surely everyone has seen the advice "always see a puppy with its mother". Some of you are not even doing that!!! In a puppy farm like this puppies are going to be raised in kennels, they will not be used to household sights and sounds and they will have little experience of anyone but whoever feeds them. Some of you sound like sensible people so i cannot understand why you'd buy like this. Usually the kind of people that buy from them are people that want a puppy and they want it NOW and they don't want to be asked any awkward questions like "what happens with the dog while you're at work". I suppose the alternative to this is the backyard breeder.... Sometimes not that much better, but at least they usually only have one litter at a time and they may have been raised in a house. There is also the Kennel Club... Don't be totally put off by the media hatchet job, they have a find an assured breeder facility and they can also warn you of health concerns in your chosen breed which you must check that the parents have been tested for before you buy! Proper dog breeders will want to know that you are taking the right breed for you and they will ask you those questions and they will want to meet you before you take a dog. But hey, at the end of it you might get a healthy well adjusted puppy from someone who will be around to help and advise you. No matter how sorry you feel for an animal from a place like this, by buying it you are only keeping them in business.... Puppy farming pure and simple. They have a facebook page where you have people (young women mostly) ohhhing and awwing over their latest puppy pictures. All puppies are cute, but do the dogs a favour don't buy from them!

  • Rezello  |  July 15 2012, 5:18PM

    I think we were very lucky with our Pom however on reflection it was rather odd when we got there the old lady just brought out the puppy she didn't offer to show us the litter to make a voice and she certainly didn't offer to show us the parents ( which is a norm when buying a pedigree )

  • blade12  |  April 29 2012, 10:47AM

    we got a black labrador from little rascals it took us over an hour to get him home we opened the door put him down and he was very loose and still is took him to vets; now on pro-kolin vet said if it does not clear up he will have to investigate further we got him on the 17th of april its now 29th all 2012 he's also showing an an aggressive side to him did not know it was a puppy farm all we saw was beagles and bassets and stupid me thought they must be there hunting dogs as it;s a farm and neither of them were pups could do with some advice as i am getting really upset over this situation and the more i learn about this outfit the more concerned i am getting was told they are kc reg checked this up and not been registered up to now also was told they would send pedigree on to us within a week still not arrived

  • melissa04  |  December 29 2011, 11:17AM

    I have recently bought a cocker from little rascals and felt under a lot of pressure to buy the puppy from the breeder, i brought the puppy home and straight away found he had diarrhea with blood in it. I contacted the breeder the next day and he told me it was due to settling in and the wormer. The puppy had the wormer over 2 weeks ago, I rang my vet and they were concerned. The puppy is now on medication and will be back at the vets in 2 days, if the medication does not work, further samples etc will need to be taken. I rang the breeder who was very rude and told me the puppy was healthy, however how can this be the case if the next day I am at the vets, he also said I had four weeks free insurance, this should not be the case though, in my opinion a reliable breeder would not sell an unhealthy puppy and if there was a problem be willing to take the puppy back, which is not the case.I found the breeder very rude and spoke to me like he knew better then the vet and was not willing to accept the pup was not healthy. The vet told me the pup should not have been sold to me and the diarrhea and blood is not from an upset stomach from travelling but a problem the breeder should have been fully aware off before and should have taken the pup himself to a vets. Thinking back on the kennels and the breeders limited knowledge on the pup and its age, alarm bells should have started ringing, I would defiantly avoid the establishment like the plague and hopefully my pup will get better, we will see in the next few days, I can say though this place needs shutting down and the breeder needs to truly learn how to look after animals and see them as companions, not just pound signs. I would like to see him living in the puppies conditions. Hopefully my puppy will be ok, only time will tell, the first few days with a puppy should be exciting and provide a time for you to get to know each other, mine and my families though has been filled with worry and stress. I do have another beautiful cocker, where both parents was seen, he was brought up in a family home and the couple were very lovely and informative, I have never had any problems with him and he is very happy and healthy, I wish now I had waited and looked around as I did when I bought him - its only now hitting home the puppy may continue to have problems and present new problems in his life - all because of a con man who is able to see loop holes in a system, that should be set up to protect animals and breeding. The more research I have done since the purchase the more I have found out about similar cases related to puppies at the establishment - if you can call it that, I wish now I had done my homework and trusted my gut instinct initially when i saw the puppy's and the different breeds or cross breeds as the case may be and got straight back in my car and left. The puppy (Toby) is a sleep at the minute, it will continue to be another day of worry, trying to get the pup to eat, take the medication and examining feces to see if there is any improvement and ringing the vets to inform them on his status.

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    gavin, goole  |  November 21 2010, 8:40PM

    we bought our miniature daschund from little rascals just under a year ago, we both disagree with most negative comments about little rascals as he's turned out to be a great dog and we've had no health problems at all. we took our dog for his 14week vaccinations and the local (and highly reputable vet) commented on how good a pedigree he is. We were worried at first about the whole PRA scenario with daschunds but our vet insisted that its back problems that is more worrying as he gets older. although our main concern afterwards was that we seemed to only be there 20 minutes. the whole set up was professional (but the staff were slightly rude) and the converted barn was clean and tidy with all dogs looking healthy but should they be selling all these breeds?? probably not..

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    Anonymous pom owner, lincolnshire  |  October 27 2010, 3:02PM

    I am horrified! I have just brought a pom from the puppy farm 4 days ago. When i got there i saw other pups in the kennel next to them and ask what breed they were, the man said im not sure, then he said they arernt the same as the pom spitz, much bigger and crossed with something else, and to my dismay, i have just seem them advertise these pups on the internet on the same sight as my puppy is from! they are cons! My pup also has kennel cough! As well as all the puppies there! The stud pom has an overhanging jaw, check it out on their website!! Good luck to anyone buying from there!

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    Kady Mitchell, Boston, Lincs  |  May 10 2010, 6:20PM

    I bought a pom pup from these cruel people in January. But the pup is not a pom, but a German/Finnish spitz. I paid £450 for a dog that noone seems to know what breed he is! He is a beauty and a lovely dog and wouldnt swap him for the world. Little Rascals needs shutting down. Edward Swindells is a con man and a coward and doesnt give a monkeys about his dogs. I have reported them to every authority and will not rest til something is done.

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    Amy, West Midlands  |  May 02 2010, 11:30PM

    We bought a tan beagle 'puppy' from Little Rascals in January 2009. I say puppy but the picture with the advertisement, although obviously the same dog, had clearly been taken a few months previously. We were told she was 5 months old when we got there (not the cute 8 week pup we thought we were going to see) She was brought out to us by a man who handed her over and left us in the shop with her. She immediately rolled into a submissive position and appeared incredibly nervous. There were two other families also purchasing puppies and I felt like screaming at the one family who were taking their beautiful yorkshire terrier home with their young daughter whilst the woman behind the counter kept reassuring them that the pup was vomiting excessively because it was nervous. She even said after they'd left 'they'll be back tomorrow' before asking us if we were taking the beagle. I'm no dog expert but I do know enough to determine a healthy dog. I checked the beagle over, she seemed reasonably healthy no signs of upset tummy or illness, bright eyed and incredibly nervous and underweight (you could have played music on her ribs). The other dogs in the pens, ridgebacks, bassets, cockers, looked healthy enough and happy. Unfortunately in our case the price was right. we wanted a beagle but couldnt afford the £800 a lot of breeders were asking for. We handed over our £500, put our new family member in the car and left. Fortunately we have had no problems with her (well health wise at least, she is the naughtiest dog I have ever owned and I think we should have called her 'Oi get down' since that's all we seem to say to her) but whilst I have researched beagles since we've had her more than I did before and discovered that her perculiar colouring and markings are those of a hare-pied beagle, I do actually doubt her pedigree considerably. She has long legs, is not the tubby sturdy bundle that most people associate with beagles, has the face of a dachsund with a very long pointy muzzle and runs in the style of a whippet, i've never seen a dog so fast that isnt a racing dog. Fortunately Sizzles has been a good investment for us, she's now 19 months old and gets on well with our 3 cats, 2 guinea pigs but not the hamster. My 4 yr old and 2 yr old daughters love her to pieces and she's so good with them. We love our Sizzles, and whilst she may not be from the most perfect bloodline, or from the perfect breeder she is a perfect dog. I've accepted that she's not a standard beagle but that just makes her more special. Having done more research on Little rascals since having her I would not buy another dog from there but on the whole our experience was a very short (25 minutes tops) but sweet one. As I have said we would have gone to a 'reputable' breeder, we knew what we wanted and knew what we could afford, and I still dont think £500 was that cheap to be honest. I think that part of the popularity of these large scale breeders is that they are cheaper. I appreciate that breeders put their prices high to ensure good homes, to set a standard but they leave a huge gap in the market for a family looking for a family dog that can be reasonably predictable on temperament because its a pedigree but can't afford the massive price tag. All our animals are insured and well fed, it's not that one cannot afford the costs of owning a pet but that one cannot afford the astronomical prices that many breeders set which therefore encourages people to turn to these mass scale breeders for a 'cheaper pedigree'. There is no perfect solution, my personal experience with Little Rascals was a reasonably good one but having read others I realise I may have just had a lucky escape and would not purchase from them again.

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    Laura, West Yorkshire  |  April 12 2010, 4:19PM

    I bought my dog Bayley from lil rascals a while ago now, he will be four in may, i wanted a companion for my shih tzu and found the advert in the paper. Now im better educated about these puppy farms i realise it was the wrong thing to do and will never make the same mistake again, however im glad hes part of my family and we all love him dearly. Bayley was sold to me with a pedigree and is supposed to be a shih tzu, however there is no way he is a pure shih tzu, the only characteristics he has of a shih tzu is the coat and curly tail, he has a long nuzzle, different and larger body conformation, long slim jaw and different teeth, more stamina and totally different in every way! I did mention this when i went to pick him up and said he looked more like a lhasa apso, as his nuzzle looked longer than it was supposed to be, but the man just gave me a funny look, so i felt rude...afterall i wasnt a well established breeder like they were, plus at the time this was the only thing i picked up on and only noticed other things as he grew bigger. Now hes fully grown his nose is about 2 inch long. Who knows a shih tzu with a nose like that? they typically have very flat faces! About a year later i plucked up the courage to ring up lil rascals and got through to a lady and told her about the mistake, she was very unhappy with what i had to tell her and told me i could DNA test her dogs and basically i was made to feel a liar! She knew full well i wouldnt take it to these extremes as it costs money and she probably wouldnt let me anyway as seeing my dog would totally prove her wrong! So i tried to move on, accept that i had been conned and forget about it, however when i saw them on the bbc i realised it wasnt just me in this situation, there probably are many more like me who haven't spoken out yet. Basically i bought bayley under false pretences of him being a pedigree, as he grew it became clear so i ripped up the fake pieces of paper with his fake parentage and learned to love him for who he is, a lovely cross breed. Bayley had diahorrea for the first couple of weeks of him being home, and as we all know it can kill puppies, he was lucky. I had to wait when i went to collect him as the guy told me he `needed 'cleanin up.' He didnt do a good job as he had feaces stuck to his behind and was riddled with fleas and had the gritty feel from them in his coat. He is a very timid dog, wary of strangers and can come across as aggressive to others as he barks and snaps in the air when an unfamiliar face comes into our home. I know dogs can pass on behavioural traits good and bad, and i remember when i went to choose my puppy i saw his mother, i was trying to stroke her but she snarled and backed off, i thought i best not push her as i may get bitten and put it down to her protecting her litter of puppies. I now realise is was her personality, maybe due to being unsocialised and having to live like that everyday of her life. These dogs were living in filthy smelly conditions. There were over several little dogs living in confined spaces together, dogs well known for their companionship, living their lives without any love and affection in these cages. It still makes me livid when i think about it. How can the council let this happen? My bayley was so scared of me at first, everytime i went near him he crouched to the floor, i believe this was because the first 8 weeks of his life the only human contact he had was when his mother and the puppies were fed, and checked over. He would have never been played with!The only comfort he had was with my other dog for the first couple of weeks until he got used to us. They were also supposed to be vet checked, any vet would see that this was appalling and should have spoken out!

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