Dogs liberated from Ida-Viru County puppy farm soon to get new homes
The recent discovery of a puppy farm which housed close to 100 animals in particularly poor conditions is only one of many such likely cases nationwide, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Saturday night. These particular dogs are, however, likely to be rehoused with new owners in the near future.
Anni-Anete Mõisamaa, spokesperson for Varjupaikade MTÜ, an NGO which has taken on dogs from the recently-busted puppy farm in Sillamäe, Ida-Viru County, said that this was not the first such recent case.
Mõisamaa told AK that: "We have already had four such cases this year, in which there are larger puppy factories, and where several dozen animals have already come from," putting the figure at around 20 to 30.
"Unfortunately, there are puppy farms in Estonia, but the Agriculture and Food Board (VTA) is doing its job well, and has started receiving more tip-offs on holding inspections and rescuing dogs from puppy farms," she went on.
Of the Sillamäe case, where 94 animals were found incarcerated in inadequate facilities, Heiki Valner, head of the Animal Rescue (Loomapääste) organization, said that the animals had been affected massively by their experiences.
Despite the terminology, the bulk of the dogs are adults, and have only ever known the inside of the puppy farm up until now.
"The situation [outside] is something completely new for them - they haven't seen people, and have never been outside," Valner told AK.
The dogs, currently being sheltered by Varjupaikade, nearly half of them in Tallinn, will soon be ready for permanent homes with their new owners.
The dogs, which AK reported were Chihuahua-type animals, range in age from two to as old as 10 years of age.
Valner told AK that the main reason why puppy farms continued to exists in Estonia was demand-side-related.
He said: "Unfortunately, the market is the reason that this type of business will take place. As long as people are willing to buy animals from such places, it must be made as difficult as possible for them to do so."
Anni-Anete Mõisamaa said that it will take time for the dogs to become socialized to humans.
The Sillamäe dogs were rescued in an operation which continued through the night of December 3. Some of them had been confined to cages, and most were malnourished and had been living in dirty conditions even when un-caged.
Donors are also giving food, while the potential list of new homes for the dogs is actually over-subscribed, AK reported, with nearly 400 applicants being considered.
The bulk of the animals should be in their new homes by year-end.
In another recent case, the VTA had to impound around 20 dogs which had been transported in inadequate conditions from Spain, as part of an organized hunting tourism trip.
The foreign hunt tourist driving the vehicle reportedly had insufficient English to deal with all aspects of the trip. As a result, an ex-pat Italian resident in Tallinn acted as middle-man and interpreter.
The Loomapääste site in English is here, and the helpline is 1414, while the email address is here.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte