Dodgy dog breeders are creating Frankenstein puppies in hobby labs to sell them for up to £40,000 each.
The new breeds – such as hairless and fluffy bulldogs – are being developed in unregulated fertility clinics across Scotland, according to a Sunday Mail investigation.
Others being created are described as “hairless French bulldogs”.
Experts have warned that unscrupulous traders are capitalizing on the reluctance of licensed vets to carry out fertility work and fear the new breeds will suffer from poor health throughout their often short lives.
There are also concerns that some clinics are breaking the law by performing blood tests, distributing drugs online for humans and performing artificial insemination.
Last night leading TV vet Dr Pete Wedderburn, who runs a practice in Ireland and trained at the University of Edinburgh, said animals were suffering in unregulated clinics.
He said: “The rise of these clinics is outrageous.
“It is driven by proper vets who are reluctant to do the job. The reasons are ethical – a licensed vet would never get involved in breeding dogs that will suffer in their lives.
“It’s led to a vacuum where these unregulated clinics have sprung up.”
The evidence seen by this newspaper shows that dogs are traded for tantalizing amounts fueled by an unquenchable thirst for pedigree puppies.
And two breeders who run fertility clinics are currently facing legal action related to allegations of unregulated veterinary procedures.
A dealer we identified in the east of Scotland – who we don’t name for legal reasons – bragged about raising oddball puppies, including hairless bulldogs.
Evidence given to the Sunday Mail shows he is selling the rare puppies for between £30,000 and £40,000 each.
An investigation by the Scottish SPCA led to the seizure of veterinary equipment from the individual’s fertility clinic last year.
Last week, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said the man was facing criminal charges following the raid.
Despite legal action, the breeder continued to produce purebred dogs, including one described as “hairless French bulldogs”.
A wildlife crime source said: “These clinics are popping up in every town and city.
“Some sell purebred dogs at extremely inflated prices.
“And some offer their weird breeds for stud. But these are just people looking to make a quick buck.
“They have no qualifications and don’t care about the welfare of the weird dogs they create.”
Blood samples are taken to assess when female dogs are most likely to become pregnant.
Human hormone drugs – often purchased over the internet – are given with the aim of speeding up the recovery of a new mother who has just had a litter of puppies so that they become pregnant again.
Another breeder, who helps run a fertility clinic for dogs in the west of Scotland, is also facing criminal charges.
It offers a range of procedures, including the supply of purebred dog semen.
Despite ongoing legal action, he was allowed to breed dogs again earlier this month.
He also warned that some unregulated clinics practice artificial insemination.
BVA President Justine Shotton said: “We are deeply concerned about reports of dog fertility clinics advertising veterinary procedures without the supervision of a veterinarian.
“These procedures must always be performed under the advice and care of a veterinarian in the interest of the health and welfare of the dogs, and it is illegal to do otherwise.
“We are aware of worrying reports that surgical artificial insemination has been performed in some fertility clinics, which is completely banned in the UK on animal welfare grounds.”
Mike Flynn, Chief Superintendent of the Scottish SPCA, said: “We are extremely concerned about the increase in the number of unscrupulous breeders breeding dogs and attempting specialist medical procedures without training.
“We are leading a working group to look specifically at these issues.
“The risk to the welfare of animals undergoing procedures by untrained members of the public is of great concern.
“Dog breeding should only be undertaken by reputable breeders who are willing to spend time, effort and money to ensure animals are raised with care and receive the highest possible veterinary care. quality throughout the process.
“It should never be done on a whim or as a way to make a quick buck.”
In January, a report by the charity NatureWatch looked at the growth of fertility clinics.
The hard-hitting report said: “These ‘clinics’ appear to offer veterinary services, but they are often run by people who are not veterinarians, and many operate without any veterinary involvement.
“These puppy labs are creating Frankenstein puppies who are destined to suffer for their looks.
“The number has skyrocketed during the pandemic and our animal crime investigators have seen a disturbing increase in unethical and potentially illegal practices.”
He warned that clinics were selectively breeding ‘flat-faced dogs’ such as bulldogs and said: ‘Many flat-faced mums need help giving birth and over 80 per cent of French bulldog puppies are put in the world by Caesarean section.
“Some clinics even advertise puppies for sale on the Internet.
“Like puppy breeders, their motivation is money.”
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