A RESCUE dog that needed urgent surgery before being rehomed by a Thirsk shelter is part of a national campaign to end the damaging breeding of flat faced pets.

The Blue Cross charity is campaigning for an end to the trend of poor breeding of brachycephalic - flat faced - pets, like pugs, Persians, and French bulldogs, which can leave them struggling to breathe and even see properly.

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The charity is appealing to politicians to support their calls for legislative options such as those recently introduced in Norway to prevent the low welfare breeding of flat faced pets.

A public petition is also ongoing requesting UK companies stop popularising the fashion status of these breeds by using them in advertising which can fuel demand that is often met by unscrupulous breeders.

In the lead up to Valentine’s Day, Blue Cross is telling the story of homeless pug Cole, who sadly experienced struggles with breathing due to poor breeding.

The Northern Echo:

Flat faced Blue Cross dog Banks is part of the campaign Picture: BLUE CROSS

He needed urgent surgery and has happily since rehomed by Blue Cross in Thirsk.

But when the Thirsk shelter first took Cole in for rehoming, it was immediately clear he was struggling to breathe.

Flat faced dogs can particularly suffer in warmer weather and even when resting Cole couldn’t get enough air and was forced to resort to heavy, exhausting snorts to catch his breath.

The dog's snout was so flat folds of skin on his nose risked infecting his eyes.

His condition was so serious he was admitted as soon as possible to the Blue Cross animal hospital in Grimsby for surgery to widen his nasal passages and allow more air through his tiny nostrils and nasal passages.

Since the op, Cole made a full recovery and is now able to breathe more easily although still struggles after the smallest amount of exercise.

He is now in a loving home where his owners understand his needs and to keep playtime and exercise limited so that he doesn’t overheat or struggle to get his breath.

In the lead up to February 14, Blue Cross has sent alternative Valentine's Day cards to MPs, with an appeal for action on unregulated breeding.

The love letter tells the story of dogs and cats like Cole who are left breathless or with heart tremors, not due to cupid’s arrow but as a result of bad breeding.

Chris Burghes, CEO at Blue Cross, said: “Positive change for pets relies on so many of us in society, from the prospective pet owner looking online for their perfect pup, to the politician in a position to bring in legislation to combat unscrupulous and cruel breeding practices and criminal sellers.

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"We hope our alternate card makes MPs think twice about the suffering these pets are subjected to, often for their whole lifetime, simply because of they way they have been bred.

"We will be meeting with MPs over the coming months to ask them to look again at the legislative options to better protect the welfare of flat faced pets.

"Every one of us is in a position to show love this Valentine’s Day for brachycephalic pets, like Banks, Buster, Cherry, and Cole, by researching the breed and what healthy looks like, knowing how to spot and report unscrupulous online sales and scams and being an advocate for advertisers using only the healthiest examples of a pug, Persian or French bulldog."

The Northern Echo:

The Valentine's Day cards being sent to MPs by Blue Cross

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