Decision ‘extremely unfair’

"Wonderful little breed" . . . Fiona Martin and her pugs Dominic (left) and Rosie at home in Abbotsford on Tuesday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Pugs have been “unfairly targeted” and their owners accused of being “cruel” since an auction website decided to soon stop selling the breed.

Fiona Martin, of Abbotsford, has been surrounded by pug dogs for most of her life.

“I’ve loved the breed since my mum brought one home when I was about 11 .. they are a wonderful little breed.”

She owns fawn-coloured pugs Rosie (8) and Dominic (4).

Last week, Trade Me announced it would ban the sale of pugs, British bulldogs and French bulldogs on the website from March.

The move was due to the breeds suffering acutely from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.

Mrs Martin’s mother, Elaine Watkins, had retired from breeding pugs.

Mrs Watkins was a responsible breeder, completing DNA tests to reveal health problems and determine a dog’s suitability for breeding.

In her 30 years of pug ownership, no pug the family owned had a breathing issue or was deemed by a vet to need surgery to aid breathing, Mrs Martin said.

She believed pugs with issues were from “backyard breeders” who failed to test breeding stock and produced litters with health issues.

People considering buying a pug should research its breeder and think about the reasons for wanting the breed.

“If they are buying them for a fashion statement, they are buying them for the wrong reasons.”

The Trade Me ban had caused “a lot of negativity” towards the three breeds and “given them a bad name”.

“I have heard of people getting criticised for owning the breeds and being called cruel,” she said.

The breeds had been “unfairly targeted” as there were other dog breeds with health issues, such as bad hips.

“It’s extremely unfair.”