Published: 15:34, 26 November 2018
| Updated: 19:36, 26 November 2018
A man has been handed a suspended prison sentence for his involvement in farming and selling unwell puppies in time for Christmas.
Glen Hayes, 53, of Beatty Avenue, Gillingham, appeared at Bexley Magistrates’ Court on Monday, November 26, having been convicted of 10 animal welfare offences.
He was disqualified from keeping animals indefinitely and handed a 20-week prison term suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work, fined £3,500 and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.
The RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit (SOU) and the Metropolitan Police searched a property in Bexleyheath back in January, after several members of the public raised their concerns.
To their shock, a total of 38 dogs and 18 cats were found in makeshift pens, in the garden and in cages.
RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport said: “We’d been contacted by numerous people buying puppies who had grown suspicious of the operation that was being run from the house in Bexleyheath.
"People were concerned that they were never allowed beyond the living room when they visited the house to see the puppies and many who had purchased dogs reported that their pets had quickly fallen ill.
“Sadly, in some cases, people’s beloved new pet puppies had been so poorly that they’d died.”
One Newfoundland was found with seriously deformed legs and couldn’t walk while many of the dogs were covered in mud, faeces and their coats were matted with dirt.
Inspector Lamport added: “The house and garden were total mayhem but the living room - the only space prospective buyers were allowed access to - couldn’t have been more different. A pristine and impeccably clean space.
“Mr Hayes was involved in the day-to-day care of these animals and should have known better than to keep them in such horrendous conditions.
“Thankfully, we were able to save these lovely dogs and cats and they will all go on to lead much happier and healthier lives.”
All of the animals have since been rehomed or are in foster care awaiting new homes.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “Unfortunately we know that lots of unscrupulous dealers will up their operations in the run-up to Christmas and try to cash in on families hoping to bring a dog into their lives.
“It’s devastating that, as in this case, many families will spend Christmas mourning the death of their new puppy when they should be celebrating a new addition to their home.
“Please consider rescuing a dog but, if you’re desperate to buy a puppy, be sure to find a responsible breeder and use the Puppy Contract to help you bring home a happy, healthy puppy.”
More by this authorRob Byrne