Little Rascals Pets Ltd, Brant Broughton, Lincoln UK (now known as PUPPIES AT HOME LIMITED)
The proprietors of Little Rascals are in the business of dog breeding purely for profit. Puppy farming is an extremely lucrative business and Little Rascals breed dogs in the same way they commercially bred farm livestock but now the profits are much higher [Swindells Livestock].
Like any irresponsible and unethical dog breeders, Little Rascals have only two business ethics –
- breed puppies first, find buyers later
- maximise profits at any cost
The proprietors of Little Rascals – June ‘Penny’ Swindells, Edward Swindells and Bridgett Dickens, officially trade from The Dairies, Brant Broughton, Lincoln, LN5 0RW.
Little Rascals‘ location at Brant Broughton contains various residential properties, farm and out-buildings once used for livestock which are not included in the annual inspection for the dog breeding licence [—FOIR], and therefore are not accessible to Council inspectors, the RSPCA or the general public.
As all the land and properties at that location are owned by the Swindells, family members and also employees have occupied residential buildings and, needless to say, those buildings are not inspected or accessible to the RSPCA either, even though at least one Little Rascals employee breeds dogs himself.
The Swindells have been trading in puppies since 1965 (‘Penny’ June Swindells, son Edward Swindells, daughter Bridgett Dickens and her spouse Peter Dickens).
Previously calling themselves “Smart Puppies”, in or around 2004 they changed the name to Little Rascals, coinciding with a spate of complaints about unhealthy puppies.
Dogs that Swindells and Dickens keep for breeding and the puppies they mass-produce are ‘livestock’ for the purposes of running a very profitable business, with the least amount of money spent on the dogs, for example:
— by their own admission, Little Rascals carry out absolutely no blood, DNA or breed-specific health tests on any of their breeding dogs, and many new owners have reported cases of –
Giardia; Campylobacteriosis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasia; Kennel Cough; Myasthenia and far too many cases of PARVOVIRUS, often within hours of buying their puppy, in some cases fatal [see Beagle Puppy Deaths].
However, from a professional ethics standpoint, a puppy’s health prior to sale is also the responsibility of the veterinary practice Little Rascals use, who should have a duty of care, not just to their clients, but to the animals they attend. Those veterinary practices have included Orchard House Vets in Metheringham and, most recently, Lincs Veterinary Solutions in Market Rasen [→Vets]—
Little Rascals currently have a breeding licence for 200 breeding bitches and may have up to 50+ stud dogs at any one time.
Irresponsible Dog Breeding
Little Rascals have a Pet Shop Licence which enables them to buy and sell excess ‘stock’ privately (to and from other breeders and dealers). It also allows them to supply pet stores, where puppies are on public display all day and left alone at night.
Little Rascals claim: “Here at Little Rascals all of our dogs are very much loved“, and yet they’ve sold their so-called “much loved” puppies to at least one pet store – Natureworld. When questioned about the ethics of selling puppies, Natureworld claimed that all puppies were ‘taken home by staff’ at night. The shop has been observed at closing time on many occasions and to date NO animals have been removed by members of staff at the end of a working day.
Until recently, Little Rascals stated that they “often import from associated licensed breeders in Southern Ireland in order to strengthen our breeding and improve the genetics of our dogs”.
UK suppliers are likely to include good friend and business associate Stephen Hamilton based in Ayrshire. Stephen Hamilton is the brother of puppy farmers Jonathan and David Hamilton who were the subject of an undercover investigation for BBC Scotland [link].
Trading outside the UK has absolutely nothing to do with improving the genetics of their dogs, but everything to do with cheap imported puppies bred en masse on puppy farms and establishments in countries where dog breeding licensing laws are even more appalling than they are in the UK, enabling bigger profits for Little Rascals and their suppliers.
Some of those suppliers/dealers have also included Paddy Dooley (Southern Ireland), Michael McKay and Gerry Smyth (Northern Ireland) [→Canine Breeders Ireland Ltd], the Bolands and Liam Crosby [Imported Puppy Fraud].
Little Rascals have been the subject of two BBC Inside Out programmes investigating puppy farms, in 2009 and 2013 [link], and have recently been investigated by Nottinghamshire Trading Standards following the sale of imported puppies with ‘conflicting’ paperwork [→Pet Passport].
Little Rascals have also admitted to using Artificial Insemination, which they claim is ‘for health‘ reasons. They haven’t elaborated on that statement nor have they confirmed where and how the AI procedures are carried out [→Artificial Insemination], but it’s unlikely to do with ‘health reasons‘ and more to do with forced breeding.
Unsold ‘Stock’ and Breeding Dogs No Longer Profitable
Mass breeding puppies without customers in place inevitably means there will be unsold stock. The older a puppy gets the less chance it has of being sold. With breeding dogs their usefulness is time-limited, some earlier than others.
A number of Little Rascals‘ unsold puppies and breeding dogs which are no longer fit for purpose, and therefore of no monetary value, have been fortunate enough to be passed to an East Midlands dog rescue, where Little Rascals‘ cast-offs are often described as ‘ex breeders‘ ‘timid‘, ‘frightened‘ and/or ‘unsocialised‘.
Other disposable puppies and dogs will not be so lucky – there is no legal requirement for the proprietors of Little Rascals to inform any authority when a puppy or dog dies or is euthanised by them or their vet. No one knows how many dogs end their lives – or have their lives ended – on this puppy farm. So basically they can do what they like with unwanted and unsold ‘stock‘, there is absolutely nothing to stop them.
Some of Little Rascals‘ ex-breeding dogs adopted from the East Midlands rescue are now owned by dedicated, caring owners, and some have come together on a private forum with the purpose of supporting one another on the very long, and often very sad, journey to rehabilitation of their rescued Little Rascals‘ ex breeding dogs.
Without exception, these dogs are in a very bad state of mental and physical health when they arrive at the East Midlands rescue. Their new owners give harrowing and heart breaking accounts of how the dogs are afraid of everything that moves, are unused to human touch and have never been walked on a lead or socialised. None of them have any of the life experiences a normal dog would have, and there are instances of ex-breeders being terrified of men;, the stamping of feet and brooms. It doesn’t take much imagination to work out why. These are NOT isolated cases.
The health of these dogs is often appalling, with long term issues such as rotten teeth, matted coats, ear infections, respiratory problems, serious eye infections (in one case leading to the loss of an eye) and much more.
If you now own an ex-Little Rascals’ breeding dog or older puppy with problems, and would like to join the growing number of people in the same situation, you can contact us here (anonymously if you wish) for more information.
The Home Bred Lie
A recent court case, which Swindells and Dickens brought themselves against HMRC (and lost), highlighted the false claims made by them that all puppies are bred on the premises and that ‘mum and dad‘ are always available to be viewed. The court found that almost half of the puppies sold by Little Rascals had been bought in from third parties, making it impossible for both parents to be on the premises.
Full details can be found here— Swindells v HMRC
In December 2017 we reported that Swindells, Dickens or Allen had taken delivery of Dachshund puppies from a family of resident travellers who are not dog breeders and have no links to responsible breeders.
Full details can be found here— Undeclared Income
Little Rascals churn out dogs without guarantee of sale. Puppies are bred on such a large scale they need to be advertised widely in order to sell.
Apart from a dedicated website, Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube and their own classified ad site (responsibly called PuppiesRus !), some of the classified ad sites they use or have used to sell puppies are:
- gunstar facebook
Favourite adjectives: “friendly“; “cute“; “amazing“; “adventurous“; “gentle“; “devoted“; “energetic“; “stunning“; “beautiful“; “playful“; “gorgeous“; “lively“; “cheeky“; “loving“; “charming“; “loyal“; “adorable“; “affectionate“; “devoted“.
Dubious terms: “home bred“ , “pedigree” (sometimes even “full pedigree“), “much loved“and phrases such as “mum and dad can be seen“.
- The Bolands
- Ireland Associates → Canine Breeders Ireland
- Little Rascals ex-Breeding Dogs
- Vets → Health
- Artificial Insemination
- Breeding Practices – Ireland
- Ethical Breeding Standards
- Ways to help