Puppy dealers convicted and jailed
A COUPLE have been jailed for selling ill and dying puppies to the public.
Lucy and Anthony O’Donnell were reported to the RSPCA by 12 puppy buyers; ten of those 12 puppies died.
The pair, both 30, of Old Maidstone Road, Sidcup, Kent, appeared before the Inner London Crown Court yesterday for sentencing. Mrs O’Donnell was jailed for two years and banned for ten years from keeping animals, and her husband was given a five-month jail term with a similar ban.
At a previous hearing, Mrs O’Donnell had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, two of causing unnecessary suffering to a German Shepherd/Collie cross puppy and a Pug/Pekingese cross puppy, and failing to meet the needs of 11 puppies. Mr O’Donnell had admitted with three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a Jack Russell/Chihuahua crosses and a Jack Russell cross and failing to meet the needs of 11 puppies.
The court heard that Anita Jaikaran from Brixton was one of the people duped into buying a sickly puppy from the breeders. She arrived at a home in Sidcup after replying to a Gumtree advert Lucy O'Donnell had set up under a fake name.
She said she knew something was wrong as soon as she saw Marley, pictured here before and after.
“When we arrived outside the house, it had no signs of being inhabited,” she said. “I was immediately wary of what was taking place. The house was freezing cold, not lived in and there was a locked room with several dogs barking.
“When she brought Marley out he was tiny, soaking wet with urine, smelled terrible and he was gnawing at my fingers, which I later realised was because he was starving. Despite this, I immediately fell in love with his sweet little face.
“I realised what was going on so we decided to leave, but there was just no way I was leaving this tiny puppy so we paid her and left.”
After several sleepless nights and £1,500 in vet bills Marley recovered.
Another buyer, who did not want to be named, bought Jack Russell/Chihuahua cross Daisy (pictured) for £250. She was ‘riddled with worms’ and, despite her new owner paying £1,000 in vet bills, she died a week after they bought her home.
The court heard that the RSPCA became aware of the puppy dealers in December 2015 following a number of calls to the charity’s cruelty line from people reporting the deaths of puppies they had bought only days before. Shortly afterwards two undercover officers posing as members of the public went to the couple’s house. They met Mrs O’Donnell at the side of a road and a few minutes later gave her money and left with a puppy, Stewie (pictured), who was subsequently rehomed.
A few weeks later officers and local police executed a warrant at the address and found 50 dogs and puppies there.
“While there were a large number of dogs at the property, there was no evidence of anything illegal regarding those dogs so none was seized from the address on the day,” said an RSPCA spokesman. “However, due to the evidence from the buyers of the puppies and their vets we were able to proceed with our investigations in relation to the puppies that the O’Donnells had sold in the run-up to Christmas.
“It’s heart-breaking to think that this couple put money and profits ahead of the welfare of these poor pups and, as a result of failing to establish a disease control programme and failing to provide appropriate treatment for illness, 11 puppies lost their lives.”