Rick Ackers is campaigning to change the law around how dogs are sold online after his beloved Labrador Reggie died due to a suspected cruel puppy farming scam
The owner of a dog that tragically died as a result of a cruel puppy farming scam has completed a gruelling 165 mile trek to Downing Street in a bid to change the law on how dogs are sold.
When Rick Ackers, from Wigan, North West England, bought Labrador Reggie after seeing him on a selling website, his family fell in love instantly.
Rick’s then seven-year-old son became best friends with the pup. “He found love in our house,” Rick said. “He never left our side for the short time he was with us.”
But just days later, the life of their newest family member was cruelly cut short after Reggie fell ill with a serious virus and had to be put to sleep.
Rick was left heartbroken, and his young son tearfully asked him if Santa could bring back their beloved dog. “It did cut him up,” Rick said.
“I saw him talking to the ashes of Reggie on the fireplace.”
Reggie developed canine parvovirus, which was thought to be due to being taken from his mother too soon and not having his vaccinations as the seller had promised.
It was later discovered that the Labrador had likely come from a puppy farm, born and raised in “appalling” conditions which probably contributed to his death.
After Reggie died, Rick made it his mission to change the way that dogs and puppies are sold online by launching the ‘Justice For Reggie’ campaign, so that other dog owners wouldn’t have to face the same heartbreak that his family had been put through.
He launched a petition urging the UK Government to regulate websites where dogs are sold, by introducing new measures like verifying the identity and address of sellers, and compulsory pictures of the puppies with their mothers, to help put a stop to greedy puppy farmers making quick cash.
After the petition shot up to over 100,000 signatures from fellow animal lovers, the issue is set to be debated by MPs in Parliament on December 13. It’s hoped that they will agree to bring in these new measures – known as Reggie’s Law, in honour of Rick’s beloved puppy.
Rick planned a gruelling 232-mile walk from his home in Wigan all the way to London to hand-deliver the successful petition to Number 10.
The inspiring journey aimed to raise money for Hope Rescue, a charity that saves stray and abandoned dogs in South Wales.
Rick finally arrived on Tuesday afternoon and was joined by dozens of dog lovers for the final stages of the gruelling trip.
Rick was pushed to the limits on the trek, and was even hospitalised after the skin on his feet wore away and developed an infection.
He managed to walk an incredible 165 miles before being medically advised to rest by doctors.
While Rick admits that he has been “suffering to the max” on his walk, he adds that, “nothing comes close to what Reggie and others have felt”.
He said that thinking of Reggie kept him going on his emotional journey, and he believes that the puppy will be “looking down with pride” at the campaign that has taken place in his name.
“We will change the law,” he vows.