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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Man jailed after breeding and selling puppies without licence in Shropshire

A Wrexham man has been sent to prison for 18 weeks and banned from keeping dogs for his part in an illegal dog breeding business in Shropshire.

Thirty five dogs were found living in appalling conditions at the Shropshire property. Photo: RSPCA
Thirty five dogs were found living in appalling conditions at the Shropshire property. Photo: RSPCA

Robert Bransby, 36, of Cae Pentre, Brynteg, Wrexham, appeared at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday 30 January, and faced one offence under the Animal Welfare Act, in that he bred and sold puppies without a licence at a Tilstock property, which he previously had pleaded guilty to.

After a Newton Hearing – which established his level of guilt following his guilty plea – he was sentenced to 18 weeks of immediate custody and he was banned from keeping dogs for 15 years. Bransby was also ordered to pay £600 costs and a £128 victim surcharge.

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Sentencing previously took place for two women as part of this case at an earlier hearing on 3 October.

A woman pleaded guilty to 17 animal welfare offences relating to 27 dogs, eight puppies, two cats, a horse, a lamb, a terrapin and an African grey parrot. This included one offence of breeding and selling puppies without a licence. She was sentenced to 22-weeks in custody and was handed a lifetime ban on keeping all animals and ordered to pay costs of £44,000.

Another woman who pleaded guilty to nine offences was given a 12-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, a ten-year ban on keeping all animals, required to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.

Thirty five dogs, including cavapoos, cockapoos, dachshunds, Cavalier King Charles spaniels and terriers were found living in appalling conditions at the Shropshire property after the RSPCA and West Mercia police carried out a warrant on 24 February 2021.

The investigation was launched following complaints from members of the public who had bought puppies and dogs from the farm which later became ill.

The court heard how there was illegal commercial dog breeding operating from the site and with it being advertised on different websites. Dogs and puppies were housed in wooden sheds, pens and kennels, some barely bigger than a large rabbit hutch.

The court heard that the woman had made £150,000 from illegally breeding and selling the puppies, and around £9,000 in cash was seized from a safe at the property during the operation.

In her evidence, Kate Parker, the RSPCA inspector who led the investigation, said: “There were wooden sheds with stable type doors. Inside I could see a typical breeding set up for puppies, with a heat lamp angled over a plastic dog bed, an empty bowl and some soiled rags inside the bed.Inside a lean-to type construction there was a row of metal constructed kennels. There was a thin layer of sawdust on the concrete floor, clutter, household items and electrical cables dangling inside, accessible by the dogs housed in each.”

RSPCA animal centres in Leicester, Birmingham and Aylesbury, assisted by a number of the charity’s fosterers, took in the animals, who have been rehomed.

Speaking after the hearing, chief inspector Ian Briggs from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, who assisted the investigation on the illegal selling, said: “We’d always encourage anyone thinking of getting a puppy to adopt rather than buy, and to do lots of research first to ensure they source a dog responsibly.”

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