Puppy farm owner saw dogs as ‘commodities’, says prosecutor
A MAN ran a puppy farm in such ‘appalling’ conditions that the body of a Labrador was left for other dogs to feed on, a court has heard.
The town’s Sheriff Court heard that Charles Swan, who lives in Stirling, had seen the 57 dogs at his farm near Falkirk as ‘nothing more than commodities’. He advertised puppies for sale and conned customers by showing them in a clean and well-lit pan.
But the court heard last week that the remote Darnbogue Farm in Plean, from which Swan ran his unlicensed business, was a ramshackle eyesore made up of filthy shipping containers stinking of faeces.
The puppies and dogs were said to be riddled with lice and disease, and one had been so badly injured – apparently in an organised dog fight – that even Swan did not expect it to live.
Customers handed over hundreds of pounds for puppies who were so ill they then faced expensive vet bills.
Shona McJarrett, prosecuting, said receipt books showed that Swan, who set up in Plean after illegal kennels he kept near Stirling were shut in a council crackdown in 2006, raked in nearly £12,500 from the sale of puppies between March and August last year.
The farm was raided after the Scottish SSPCA received numerous complaints. In the sleeping area at the back of a kennel the body of a chocolate Labrador in advanced decomposition was found. They removed several adult dogs and puppies, many of whom have now been rehomed. An adult Rottweiler bitch suffering from a serious and untreated head injury remains in the charity’s care.
Swan pleaded guilty to selling dogs without a licence, keeping dogs in soiled and inadequate conditions, failing to provide veterinary treatment and failing to protect the animals from suffering and disease, and failing to provide fresh water and suitable food.
Ms McJannett told the court: "The condition of the dogs and the manner in which they lived was deplorable, yet Charles Swan saw these animals as nothing more than commodities.
"The manner in which he conducted his enterprise was not only cruel but undercuts those who are involved in the legitimate pet trade and adhere to best practice in ensuring the welfare of their animals.”
She said that most of the dogs had now been rehomed by the Scottish SPCA.
She added: "This prosecution should serve as a very clear warning to those who seek to profit in the unregulated trade of domestic pets.”
Sentence was deferred until May 31.