A BREEDER who lied to customers telling them her puppies were Kennel Club registered and inoculated has appeared in court.
Lisa Walsh, 47, of Mill Road, Barnham Broom, who operated a breeding establishment from a variety of addresses in Norfolk, including a rental property Greenacres Farm, Tasburgh, as well as in Cheshire, duped people out of thousands of pounds, Norwich Crown Court was told.
The breeds involved included West Highland White Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, Boxers and Cavaliers.
Walsh denies participating in a fraudulent business between September 2009 and October ‘12. She also denies the transfer of criminal property, £43,652, into a Norwich and Peterborough account knowing it was the product of fraudulent trading.
David Wilson, prosecuting on behalf of Norfolk Trading Standards, said some of the puppies bought from Walsh began vomiting and having diarrhoea after their new owners took them home, and others were suffering from health problems such as dry, flaky skin.
The owners said they would not have contacted Walsh about buying a puppy if they had known they were not KC registered, Mr Wilson said, and would not have paid the price Walsh was asking.
Because customers thought they were buying ‘genuine pedigree dogs’ it meant Walsh could charge a premium, he said, and she had more than £43,000 in a building society account from the fraudulent puppy trading.
"The prosecution case is that Walsh participates in a fraudulent business to firstly secure sales she would not otherwise achieve,” he said. "In doing so Walsh also achieves vastly inflated sales prices for these puppies by deceiving purchasers by representing they are acquiring pedigree KC-registered puppies, when they are not.”
He said the investigation had shown that Walsh had undertaken a number of steps to trick buyers including buying in litters of puppies.
She would also register puppies who did not exist with the KC to obtain ‘phantom paperwork’ so she could claim others were registered when they were not.
Mr Wilson said: "Walsh would also register a new litter with the KC stating they had been bred as a result of a mating with dogs who have never existed.”
Walsh would sometimes tell prospective purchasers puppies’ mothers had died if she did not own an adult of the same breed as the one she was selling, he said.
"This happened in relation to three separate litters of West Highland Whites and a litter of Cocker Spaniels,” he said.
"The prosecution case is that Walsh has participated in a fraudulent business structure to deceive consumers to secure the sales of puppies at what would be inflated prices for otherwise unregistered puppies.
"She has traded on the emotional pull involved in buying puppies to dishonestly maximise her financial gain.”
Following complaints, Norfolk Trading Standards launched an investigation and made three visits to Greenacres Farm and in April 2012 when Walsh was arrested on suspicion of fraud.
While there, officers found adult dogs and puppies of many breeds in a barn.
The trial continues.