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Breeder Ian Thomas in court after dead puppies found in Fox's Cross Road, Seasalter

A dog breeder has been prosecuted after five dead puppies destined for a household tip were found strewn across a country lane by a distressed motorist.

Father-of-five Ian Thomas appeared before Canterbury magistrates this week following the shocking discovery of the lifeless cockapoos in Fox’s Cross Road, Seasalter.

The 42-year-old told the court the puppies were in two black sacks which fell off the back of his trailer.

Warning: graphic image below

Ian Thomas leaving court
Ian Thomas leaving court

Personal documents linking the animals to Thomas’s dog breeding business, Doodlepets, were found in the bags.

Prosecuting for Canterbury City Council, Peter Kee said: “The black sacks with the bodies of the puppies were spotted by a woman driving along Fox’s Cross Road.

“At that stage she could not be sure whether the puppies were still alive.

“She called her daughter and asked her to inform the RSCPA and request that they come to the scene.

“When they arrived, the RSPCA took the very graphic images seen by the court.”

Canterbury City Council launched an investigation and Thomas admitted owning the bags, but claimed he had not intended to dump them in the lane last July.

The law says those transporting industrial waste, which includes dead animals if you are a breeder, have a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent its escape.

"I am terribly sorry for the distress [caused] to the people who found them" - Ian Thomas

Thomas said he was going to dispose of the puppies at a household waste centre, despite his licence stipulating the business should have an industrial waste agreement in place.

Representing himself in court on Tuesday, Thomas was questioned about the deaths of the puppies.

“Dog breeding is not an exact science and sometimes things can go wrong and we don’t know why,” he said. “It’s taboo to talk about it.

Speaking about the disposal, he added: “Clearly it was an accident. I acknowledge it was my responsibility.

“Nobody in their right mind would dump dead puppies, and letters with their name on, half-a-mile away from their home. I am terribly sorry for the distress [caused] to the people who found them.”

Thomas, who has run his dog breeding business in Pilgrims Lane, Whitstable, for 11 years, admitted failing to prevent the escape of industrial waste.

The former IT consultant, who sells the puppies for as much as £2,500 each, was fined £960 and ordered to pay £414 costs.

Thomas’s partner, Angela Manning, who runs the business with him, was facing the same charge but the case against her was dropped on the day of the hearing.

The puppies fell off the back of a trailer
The puppies fell off the back of a trailer

Speaking afterwards, the city council’s head of safer communities, Douglas Rattray, said: “This is a highly unusual case and it feels uncomfortable to be describing dead puppies as industrial waste, even though technically that is true when it comes to a dog breeding business.

“As Thomas acknowledges, it must have been incredibly distressing for a member of the public to come across the black sacks containing dead puppies by the side of the road and we are glad he has apologised to them and the court.

“By pleading guilty, Thomas has accepted he had a responsibility to take care of the waste he was transporting.

“That rule applies to everyone.

“We are determined to ensure the district is not blighted by waste at the side of the road, whether it was left there by accident or negligence, as in this case, or whether it is caused by littering or fly-tipping.

“We will always investigate and those we catch will be liable to substantial fines and could end up in court with a criminal conviction.”

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