Published: 15:43, 14 January 2021
| Updated: 20:32, 26 January 2021
Police found 30 dogs, a stun gun and drugs during an investigation into reports of an illegal puppy farm.
Officers carried out a search warrant on Wednesday morning at two addresses in Hadlow, and one in Yalding after concerns were raised by members of the public about the illegal breeding and sales of dogs online.
The joint operation was carried out by Kent Police, Trading Standards, the RSPCA and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and is also linked to thefts of adult dogs.
At the Yalding address, 10 puppies without a mother were found and checked over by a vet.
A further 20 dogs were inspected at the same location by the RSPCA, with a scanner used to check if any had been reported missing.
Documents and phones relating to the sale of puppies were also seized and inquiries are ongoing.
At one of the addresses in Hadlow officers recovered a stun gun, as well as a quantity of amphetamine, leading to two arrests.
A third person was also arrested on suspicion of attacking a police officer.
Amy Wilson, 33, of Mill View, Hadlow was later charged with possessing amphetamine and possessing a weapon.
She was bailed to appear at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on February 8.
Officers executing the search warrant also arrested Mia Shipwash, 36, of Mill View, Hadlow on an unrelated matter.
She was later charged with assaulting a constable and a public order offence and bailed to attend Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on February 19.
A 26-year-old man was released without charge.
The police investigation follows demand for dogs surging during lockdown, with prices driven up as a result.
In August we reported how bull dogs were for sale for £5,500 and Cavapoos for £4,250.
Months at home saw prospective owners flock to pet shops but also search online for companions, with the cost of guinea pigs and hamsters also soaring.
Following the raids Inspector Lizzie Jones, of the Tonbridge and Malling Community Safety Unit, said: "We are aware of concerns around the illegal trade of puppies in west Kent who are often offered for sale on websites.
"We will be working with our partner agencies to investigate any possible offences in relation to the dogs identified during these search warrants.
"Those who do trade illegally sometimes sell puppies before they reach the required minimum age of eight weeks, without the necessary vaccinations and with fraudulent paperwork.
"Sadly, this can result in families receiving new pets who are sometimes seriously ill."
Anthony Garnett, Head of Licensing for Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, added: "This joint operation was prompted following a number of reports from the public and several months of intelligence gathering by our team.
"The unlicensed breeding and sale of dogs is a major concern as it runs the risk of animals being poorly cared for and buyers suffering the heartbreak of losing a pet, often incurring thousands of pounds of veterinary bills in the process.
"We are grateful to Kent Police, the RSPCA and Kent Trading Standards who enabled this operation and for their support with the ongoing investigation."
While the puppies were found, they were not seized.