“We bought a puppy from Little Rascals in 2013. As first time puppy owners, we thought it was a private seller until we arrived, but then I couldn’t leave her there.”
Tara’s puppy became ill within hours of taking her home, so she immediately contacted Little Rascals with this message:
Tara : “I bought a girl puppy off you on Sunday, a golden Cocker Spaniel. Since I got her home she keeps coughing. Not all the time, but it is not nice and sounds like she is going to be sick or choke (which she never is). She is doing well otherwise and is adorable. I am concerned – I took her to the vet you recommended for her 2nd immunisations – I wasn’t impressed as she (the vet) missed a big tick on her back which she couldn’t have got here as she hadn’t been out, and I had to take her back again to have it removed! Any advice?”
Little Rascals : “Give us a call this morning on 01522 789191 and we can advise.”
Tara called them and, although she got the usual disinterested excuses – that her puppy “probably reacted to travel and/or being away from siblings”, Little Rascals reluctantly agreed to pay for treatment at their own vet, Orchard House Vets in Metheringham (Tara believes the vet was Nicola Williams), where her puppy was treated for Kennel Cough and bloody diarrhoea.
At the time of buying her puppy, Tara saw an adult Cocker Spaniel which was not confirmed as the mother:
“I saw an adult Cocker Spaniel running about – barking at a caged dog (Rottweiler). I didn’t see much of her and I was a bit on edge with all the commotion. There were cats there too, in awful condition.”
Tara’s puppy (Dotty) was 12 weeks and Little Rascals had reduced her price:
“She was in an enclosure with her (alleged) siblings – about 8 others (all boys). She was in a centre, inside enclosure and all the other enclosures were full of other breeds. I’d say we saw about 15 or so.
We have since realised that Dotty is tiny for her age and breed. She is now two years old, so fully grown, and we’ve seen two others around the 7 month age that are the same size as her”
In April 2014, Tara contacted Little Rascals again:
Tara: “Hi, I bought a puppy from you last year. I would firstly like it known that had I realised you bred in the same capacity as a puppy farm, I never would have come to you. However, like many others, I fell in love with my puppy on first glance and I do not regret buying her as I now view her as a rescue.
Within a week she had a poorly tummy, ear infection, ticks AND kennel cough, which went unnoticed by the useless vets that support your awful business (Orchard House).
Yes, you paid for the kennel cough treatment – however, she has been plagued with ear infections ever since. I changed her vet, who straight away picked up on her having narrowing of the ear canal.
She has been spayed recently, only for the vet to find her uterus and ovaries were covered in cysts, as well as a deformed uterus that looked as though she’d had multiple litters (which obviously she hasn’t). I have been advised this is probably due to her mother being over-bred. The poor little mite is struggling terribly with hormones and has had a false pregnancy.“
Little Rascals: “We are a licensed breeders which the council check and approve, none of our dogs are over bred as they are all microchipped and breeding is regulated then they are rehomed. I do not have to justify myself. You are entitled to an opinion and we have many many happy customers.”
A high percentage of Little Rascals’ “many many happy customers” are given EU pet travel passports, meaning those puppies are not bred in the UK and therefore the council issuing their licence [North Kesteven] wouldn’t know if the dogs were over-bred, nor would they know under what conditions they are kept. We’ve asked Bridgett Dickens on several occasions to share details of the “associated kennels in Southern Ireland“ and she has always refused.
Little Rascals state on their website that a vet attends at least once a week. We know that the condition Tara’s puppy was in is far from a rare occurrence, so it really is a mystery how a qualified vet cannot spot the signs of obvious illness, particularly when puppies are coughing, have bloated stomachs, ear infections and probably a high or irregular temperature.