Pet shop owner banned for 15 years over puppy farm sales
Published 30th March 12
A Harrow man who sold almost 200 puppies reared on unlicensed farms in Ireland has been banned from owning a pet shop for 15 years
Stuart Wood, 39, of Hawthorn Avenue, Kenton was also hit with fines and costs of almost £17,000 after being found guilty of 18 offences under the Pet Animals Act (1951) at Willesden Magistrates Court.
Mr Wood, who owns Sylvester's Pet Shops in Harrow Weald and Hanwell, Ealing, was found guilty after a two-and-a-half year investigation and prosecution by officers from Harrow Council's Licensing Department.
Concerns were first raised in 2010 that Mr Wood was importing puppies from the Republic of Ireland, where breeders do not require licences. The District Judge heard evidence of a 12-year-old girl who contracted scabies from one of his puppies infected with fox mange.
The court heard that Mr Wood had been prosecuted before by Ealing Council for breaching conditions on his pet shop licence in Hanwell. Other evidence presented by Harrow Council revealed that Mr Wood had falsified records, concealed information from his customers and tried to deceive the licensing authority, deliberately breaching conditions imposed on him for the safety of the public.
He was sentenced on Friday 23rd March and disqualified from owning a pet shop with immediate effect. He was fined £250 for each offence and ordered to pay Harrow Council's costs of £12,175.
Cllr Phillip O'Dell, portfolio holder for environment and community safety on Harrow Council, said:
"This case should send a clear warning to anyone who tries to sell puppies bred on unlicensed farms.
"Harrow Council imposes strict conditions on pet shop owners to prevent the sale of puppies bred in often disgusting conditions. As well as the cruelty to the animals themselves, the dogs pose a danger to the public as they often carry infections or are born with health and behavioural problems.
"This was a premeditated and deliberate crime on a shocking scale and we are satisfied with the sentence handed down by the court. It will protect Harrow residents and put even greater pressure on owners of unlicensed puppy farms to stop this abhorrent trade."
Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said:
"Our message is clear, by looking for Kennel Club Assured Breeders, asking to see the appropriate documentation beforehand and always visiting prospective puppies with their mother, those looking for a new dog can be reassured that standards have been met to ensure the health and welfare of all dogs involved, including both the puppies and parents.
"Bad breeders will never be persuaded to clean up their act unless there is no demand for their puppies which is why it is so essential that we continue to educate the public to go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder or to a breeder that they know is doing all of the right things. For more information on finding a reputable breeder go to http://www.findapuppy.org.uk/"
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