If you live in the UK, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Justice for Reggie. Richard Ackers has become the new face of the campaign against the illegal puppy trade in England after his family’s heart-breaking experience with their 12-week-old Labrador, Reggie.
In December 2020, Richard and his family spotted Reggie on one of the UK’s leading classified ad sites and immediately contacted the seller to enquire after the 12-week-old Labrador. Richard followed the site’s guidelines and asked all the important questions and received satisfactory answers. He arranged to visit the puppy, and two other dogs, at the seller’s given address.
Richard immediately fell in love with Reggie, who seemed healthy and happy. The seller asked Richard to bring along cash so he could purchase the puppy on the day, which he did. When he saw Reggie, he paid the seller and took the puppy home the same day.
Devastatingly, only three hours after Reggie arrived at his new home, he fell seriously ill. He was suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea which became progressively worse until Richard and his wife had no choice but to rush him to their local vets.
Reggie spent the next three days between the surgery and their home, and their family was given an unthinkable choice. With Reggie’s chances of survival standing at around 20%, they could attempt a blood transfusion or put him to sleep; the vet strongly recommended the latter.
“I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions – from anger, to guilt, to sadness.”
After only four days of joining his new family, Reggie’s family were invited to the vets to say their goodbyes, as Reggie could not recover from the parvovirus infection.
“My partner asked me to stay in the room with Reggie so he wasn’t alone, so I stayed while he got his injection. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Richard later found out that Reggie was bred on a puppy farm in Ireland in appalling conditions and without proper care from the breeder or the seller, and that all his paperwork was forged.
Although Richard and his family were heartbroken, they embarked on a long fight for their puppy, and launched Justice for Reggie. The campaign team works with MPs and local authorities across the UK and Ireland, seeking urgent changes to the laws on the trade of puppies.
You can find out more about Justice for Reggie here: www.justiceforreggie.co.uk.
Watch Richard's story here.
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