A man has been banned from keeping animals after 23 dogs were found in atrocious conditions, some in small crates, without water, and with untreated injuries.
Junade Ali*, 27, formerly of Gillingham Road, Gillingham, and now of no fixed abode, was found guilty by Medway magistrates of three animal welfare offences, including causing unnecessary suffering.
Medway Council environmental protection officers inspected a property belonging to Ali in 2019, after he enquired about a licence to breed dogs, and found three Belgian Malinois, two Neapolitan Mastiffs and 18 puppies in appalling conditions.
Some of the dogs had no bedding or water available and were kept in cramped conditions and others were kept in crates which were too small for them. Two dogs were also being kept in an apartment above the property, and officers raised welfare concerns with Ali before contacting the RSPCA.
Ali called council officers in early January 2020 to say he no longer had some of the dogs and but a joint investigation with the RSPCA led to a further inspection later that month, and officers seized 19 dogs, including 15 puppies and four adults.
The conditions they were kept in had worsened, with some dogs suffering from urine burns on their feet, and one found to have an untreated painful eye condition which required surgery.
The investigation found that Ali had contacted the council to enquire about a breeding licence as he was no longer able to advertise puppies for sale on a number of websites without one.
Ali was banned from owning, keeping or dealing with animals for five years at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, March 24.
He was also sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to pay £600 towards court costs.
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s portfolio holder covering enforcement, urged people who want a dog to go through a rescue centre.
She said: “We take animal welfare extremely seriously and work with partners, such as the RSPCA, to ensure backyard breeders are brought to justice.
"In this case, the defendant clearly had no regard for the dogs in his care and saw them as a way to make money.
"If residents are breeding three or more litters of puppies a year, they need to apply for a licence.
"As shown in this case, we will inspect premises to ensure that animals are being looked after properly.
"If you are thinking of buying a pet, we would encourage you to consider rehoming from a rescue centre or make sure you are purchasing an animal from a reputable, licenced, breeder.
"I would like to thank all of the officers involved in this case for their hard work.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “We know there’s a spike in people searching for puppies and buying dogs at the beginning of the school holidays but we’d urge families to carefully consider whether getting a dog is right for them.
"Dogs are a huge commitment and need lots of time and attention, even once summer is over and the kids are back at school.
“After the RSPCA campaigned for years, in 2018 the government finally introduced tougher licensing regulations around the selling of animals – including breeding and selling dogs – and new legislation came into force which banned the sale of puppies and kittens in England from third-party sellers e.g. pet shops, traders or dealers, which we hope will help crackdown on this multi-million pound industry.
"This means that anyone wanting to buy or adopt must go directly to a breeder or rehoming centre. Those who go to a breeder should use our puppy contract - puppycontract.org.uk.
“If you do have the time and money for a dog then we’d urge you to consider rescuing instead of buying a puppy.
"Not only will this give a rescue dog a chance at finding his forever home but it’ll also save any potential heartache caused by unwittingly buying a dog from a puppy farm.”
For more information about animal licensing, click here.
If you are concerned about an animal’s welfare contact the RSPCA, click here.
* We have been asked to make clear that the Junade Ali featured in this article is not the same Junade Ali, who is a 25-year-old software engineer and cybersecurity researcher, who lives near Edinburgh.