In March last year we were called upon by Caerphilly County Borough Council to help with the removal of over 50 dogs from an illegal puppy breeding business in Fochriw. We weren’t prepared for the horror that greeted us. Dozens of dogs and puppies were being kept in rooms filthy with faeces and urine, and with little access to water, light or fresh air. You can read more about the conditions here:   Dozens of dogs living in 'atrocious' conditions at illegal puppy farm

Operations Manager at Hope Rescue, Sara Rosser, recalls the scene.

'Even our most experienced staff were horrified by the conditions these poor dogs were living in. It was shocking to see that some were feeding very young puppies or were pregnant. There were new-born puppies already infested with fleas. All of the dogs were coated in faeces and urine and the smell was overwhelming’.

On arrival at the rescue centre, each dog was booked in and the hard work began for our team. Many of the dogs were badly matted and all were caked in faeces and urine. They all needed grooming, and the majority had to have their coats clipped off completely. Shockingly, some of the dogs were pregnant or feeding young puppies.

However, it wasn’t just their physical condition that was an issue. These dogs had left a very sheltered life and needed a lot of extra support in learning to live life as a pet dog, such as walking on a lead, travelling in a car and house training. Most of them moved very quickly in to foster homes which helped enormously with their rehabilitation. We’re delighted that they have all now found wonderful homes where they have become much loved family members and are able to live the lives they deserve.

Sara Rosser describes the process for getting the puppies ready for their new lives.

‘It took some time for us to get the dogs ready for adoption - many understandably had medical and behavioural needs associated with the awful conditions in which they had been raised.  These cases can be very challenging but we are so glad we were able to support the work of Caerphilly Council Trading Standards team. It was such a joy to be a part of the dogs journey and see them go onto to wonderful homes where they are living the lives they so deserve.'

At Hope Rescue, we’re incredibly proud of our work supporting Local Authorities in Wales prosecuting illegal and low welfare breeders. The public still believe that puppy farms are hidden away in barns in West Wales. Increasingly however, we are taking in seized dogs from urban properties in everyday streets in our communities. The “puppy farmer next door” is a real concern, and we would encourage anyone who suspects illegal activity or has welfare concerns about a breeder to contact their Local Authority licensing team or Animal Licensing Wales.

As well as helping the victims of illegal and low welfare breeding, we are passionate about improving our breeding laws in Wales and campaign relentlessly for change. If you are as passionate as we are, then you can show your support for our ongoing work tackling this heartbreaking puppy trade by setting up a regular monthly gift or making a one off donation.

Thank you so much, together we can change the story for the puppies and dogs who desperately need our help.

You can make a regular or one off donation here on our website or text GIVEHOPE to 70490 to donate £10* You can donate over the phone on 01443 226659 or by cheque payable to Hope Rescue, Cynllan Lodge, Old Llanharry Road, Llanharan, CF72 9NH.

*Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you’ll be opting into hearing more from us. If you would like to donate but don't wish to hear more from us, please text HOPERESCUENOINFO instead