It’s a terrible trade with no heed for the welfare of the animals involved, so it is good to see that a pair of illegal dog breeders have been fined, ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs and banned from keeping dogs, following a prosecution brought by Cornwall Council’s Licensing team. Well done to the team.
On Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court, Jeffery John Oakham, aged 67, and Susanna Gillian Webb, aged 84, both of Park View, Looe, each pleaded guilty to operating a commercial dog breeding operation without a licence.
In total the pair was ordered to pay £7,854 in fines and costs. They were each fined £295 and ordered to pay £3,600 towards the Council’s costs and a victim surcharge of £32.
They were also banned from keeping dogs for a period of two years. The defendants were given 28 days to re-home the animals.
One of the dogs found at the property. Credit: Cornwall Council
Mr Kevin Hill, prosecuting on behalf of the council, informed the court that the defendants’ application for a dog breeding licence had been denied after Council officers inspected their premises.
In 2020, the licensing team received complaints from members of the public who had purchased puppies from the pair, indicating that unlicensed dog breeding was still occurring at Park View.
A warrant was executed by the licensing team and a large number of dogs and two litters of puppies were discovered in a rundown wooden kennel block and in the house respectively.
Conditions in both the kennels and in the house did not meet the welfare needs of the dogs and an improvement notice was issued under the Animal Welfare Act.
The magistrates heard that between 2018 and 2020 the prices of dogs and puppies increased dramatically, that the defendants bred a number of litters during that period and the defendants admitted during interview to charging up to £3,000 for each puppy. Really, it would have been good to fine them a whole load more.
Conditions at the property did not meet the welfare needs of the dogs. Credit: Cornwall Council
Cornwall Councillor Carol Mould, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods at Cornwall Council, said: “The outcome of this case sends a clear message that unlicensed dog breeders will be sought out, fully investigated and, if required, prosecuted.
“The Council will always endeavour to work with dog breeders to achieve compliance with dog breeding legislation and to maintain high levels of animal welfare.
“When breeders do not provide the necessary care for their animals, we will not hesitate to take action.”