A charity has received its “worst ever” intake of bulldogs featuring a catalogue of illnesses – amid urgent pleas from experts to stop buying the breed. Hope Rescue said it received 10 bulldogs with severe health problems last week – all due to breeding issues.
The charity said the two adults and eight puppies were the “worst bred” intake of dogs it had. This came just a day before new research was revealed by Royal Veterinary College urging people not to buy flat-faced dogs, including bulldogs.
The research says urgent action is needed to protect the breed due to increasing cases of breathing problems, skin and ear diseases and eye disorders due to breeding. Many of these illnesses, including cherry eye and significant issues with their legs, spines and hips were seen in the intake by Hope Rescue.
The charity says the dogs’ issues mean they will never live normal lives and it may put off potential buyers, making it more difficult for them to ever find loving homes. Hope Rescue’s founder, Vanessa Waddon, said: “It’s hard for us not to be sympathetic with calls to ban the breed, especially after seeing the horrendous condition of this latest intake.
“If things don’t change, we will be joining those calls. It’s vital buyers don’t facilitate the breeding of brachycephalic breeds with exaggerated features and choose breeders who prioritise health before profit. We cannot continue to take in these dogs and witness their suffering.”
Hope Rescue, which is based in Llanharan, Wales, received the ten bulldogs on June 14 after being seized by a local authority in Wales on welfare grounds. The dogs had many health conditions as a result of low welfare breeding and inherent breed-related conditions, the charity said.
These included cherry eye, entropion, inverted corkscrew tails, skin conditions, excessive folds and wrinkles and most worryingly, significant issues with their legs, spines and hips. They also face breathing issues due to their flat faces. The 10 new bulldogs join five other dogs already in the charity’s care due to poor breeding practices and low welfare breeders prioritising wealth over health.
For the ten new bulldogs, the health issues Hope Rescue can “fix” will still only ever be ‘improvements’ meaning these dogs will never fully function as “normal” dogs and lifetime management will be essential.
This can cause further issues down the line, when the charity comes to rehoming these dogs – potentially risking them finding forever homes. Just a day after the dogs were signed into Hope Rescue’s care, results from a new study from the Royal Veterinary College were revealed, suggesting urgent action is required.
The Royal Veterinary College are urging the public to think twice before buying a flat-faced breed and discourages breeding and purchasing of animals with extreme configurations. The college said: “Sadly, many of the breed’s problematic characteristics such as a very flat face, deep facial skin folds and noisy breathing are still often perceived by many people as ‘normal’ or even ‘desirable’ novelties – rather than major welfare issues.”
The findings indicate that urgent action is required to reduce the high rate of health issues related to extreme body shape currently seen in English Bulldogs if the future of the breed is to be protected. Hope Rescue’s own stance supports this – and say it’s integral for buyers to change their buying behaviours or risk this breed continuing to endure a lifetime of suffering.
The charity say the dogs now need investigative tests, X-rays and surgeries, that’ll likely cost Hope Rescue an estimated £20,000. Sara Rosser, head of welfare, said: “We’re pretty tough at Hope Rescue, but our rescue-hardened hearts have been well and truly broken by these dogs.”
She added: “It’s difficult for us to fundraise right now due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis but if the public could help in anyway, helping us to cover our vet fees, we’d be hugely grateful.”
To donate or for more information, visit Hope’s appeal page: https://www.hoperescue.org.uk/Appeal/bulldog-intake-appeal