If You See a 'Teacup Puppie' Being Sold on Facebook, Avoid and Report

The RSPCA have issued a warning to any dog lovers who might be considering buying a dog from the 'Teacup Puppy' boutiques which have been appearing on Facebook. These pages, some of which pull in more than 75,000 likes, have been selling cute, fashionable dogs, the kind you might see in Paris Hilton's handbag.

If you've seen the Paris Hilton episode of South Park, you might already have an idea of where this is headed. The dogs are bred in South Korea to be notably smaller than the average size of the breed, and such a thing cannot be achieved without some measure of manipulation, and cruelty.

Dogs which are bred to be smaller often suffer from various health problems, and the conditions of the puppy farms these animals are bred on is completely unknown, which usually implies that they would rather you didn't know. Generally speaking, the RSPCA advise that buyers look at rescue centers first and foremost, and go and see the animal before actually making the commitment.

More to the point, the dogs are being shipped to Europe and the US from South Korea, which would be a distressing experience for any animal, especially for a puppy. The South Korean government has come under some fairly significant criticism for their plans to "remove red tape" from the puppy farming industry, thus allowing it to expand further, as well as offering financial incentives to those who open new mills.

Reportedly, some South Korean puppy mills even deliver the puppies by C-section prematurely in order to ensure that they are as small as they can possibly be. Investigations into this activity suggest that the people who carry this out are often untrained, and don't use anesthesia.

Advertising pet sales on Facebook is an increasingly popular strategy, one which has also brought in many black market traders, selling illegally bred or acquired animals. Many of the species sold are endangered, and as you might expect the storage and shipping conditions are absolutely unforgivable.

The root of the problem is the same, as these animals are being sold from Malaysia. If the national law of the country in question doesn't prohibit it, it's far harder to police. There's nothing strictly illegal about what these Korean sellers are doing, but it's utterly morally bankrupt.

In truth, this is a bulbous fragment of a far wider issue - the ever increasing horror of fashionable dog breeding. Speaking as someone who's been around dogs his entire life, a dog will enrich any household regardless of whether it's a purebred, a cross or a Heinz 57. They are family members, not accessories, treat them with respect.

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