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Couple fined for illegal dog breeding

A pair of illegal dog breeders who charged up to £3,000 per pup have been fined, ordered to pay thousands of pounds in fees and banned from keeping dogs, following a lawsuit filed by the Cornwall Council licensing team.

Jeffery John Oakham, 67, and Susanna Gillian Webb, 84, both of Park View, Looe, each pleaded guilty in Bodmin Magistrates Court this week to operating a commercial dog breeding operation without a licence.

In total, the couple were ordered to pay £7,854 in fines and costs. They were each fined £295 and ordered to pay £3,600 for Council costs and a victim surcharge of £32.

They were also banned from keeping dogs for a period of two years. The defendants had 28 days to rehouse the animals.

Mr Kevin Hill, prosecuting on behalf of the council, informed the court that the defendants’ application for a dog breeding license had been rejected after council officers inspected their premises.

In 2020, the licensing team received complaints from members of the public who had purchased puppies from the couple, 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 dilapidated wooden kennel and the house respectively.

Conditions in the kennels and in the house did not meet the dogs’ welfare needs and an improvement notice was issued under the Animal Welfare Act.

Magistrates heard that between 2018 and 2020 the prices of dogs and puppies increased significantly, that the defendants had bred a number of litters during this period and that the defendants admitted during the interview to having charged up to £3,000 for each puppy.

Cornwall Councilor Carol Mould, portfolio holder for wards at Cornwall Council, said: ‘The outcome of this case sends a clear message that unlicensed dog breeders will be wanted, will be investigated thoroughly and, if necessary, will be continued.

“The Council will always strive to work with dog breeders to comply with dog breeding legislation and maintain high levels of animal welfare.

“When farmers fail to provide the necessary care for their animals, we will not hesitate to act.”

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