Defendants were jailed and banned for life
Three defendants from Tamworth have been jailed for 25 weeks and given a life ban on keeping all animals following the exhumation of two newborn puppies which were buried alive in their garden.
The RSPCA and police along with an independent vet visited the home of married couple James and Lorraine Perks at French Avenue, Mile Oak, Tamworth on 25 August 2011 but were not prepared for the horrors they faced.
Nine dogs and 15 puppies were removed from the disgusting conditions, with most being confined in wooden rabbit hutches, lying in their own faeces and urine. Shockingly one hutch housed four adult terrier dogs, another a Staffordshire bull terrier and her four pups with a further two hutches both containing one adult dog each.
But worst was to come on the day when the tiny bodies of two sick puppies were discovered buried alive in the back garden. The newborn pups were desperately fighting for life but tragically could not be saved due to suffering from severe dehydration and diarrhoea. Vet Steve Odell who put the puppies to sleep later described the scene as “one of the most horrific ever witnessed.”
Other dogs which were found inside the property also lived in squalor with pools of faeces and diarrhoea on the floor. The smell at the property was overwhelming.
The RSPCA was alerted to the address by a routine call from a member of the public who bought a puppy from the Perks after seeing a card on a noticeboard. They took pity on the pup paying £50 cash for it. The puppy became very unwell, dying days later while under veterinary care.
At a previous hearing, James Arthur Perks (74), Lorraine Donna Perks (49) and their lodger Stephen Matthew Jenkins (35) entered a guilty plea via their defence solicitor after failing to attend court.
Today when passing sentence at Burton Magistrates court the chairman of the bench said: “If we could have we would have jailed them for far longer – they are all equally to blame because they were all residing at the same address.
“We did not consider a ban on them keeping dogs in future was enough and have given them a life ban from keeping any animal at all.”
They were sentenced to 25 weeks in jail, a lifetime ban on keeping animals and their dogs were confiscated and handed over to the RSPCA for rehoming.
“No matter how many years I work for the RSPCA this day will remain one which I will never forget,” said inspector Jayne Bashford. “All who attended on the day were shocked to the core.
“The whole property was in a disgusting state with pools of dog faeces on the floor of the living room and numerous young puppies living amongst the squalor. Two adult bitches in the living room had clearly been bred from several times.
“The dogs outside, confined in rabbit hutches, had no bedding and barked uncontrollably as if pleading for help. As the dogs were being checked over, a police officer was told that a puppy had died that morning and it was then that the abhorrent discovery was made of two tiny puppies gasping for breath beneath a patch of disturbed soil.
“This case highlights all the concerns we have with respect to irresponsible and indiscriminate breeding of dogs and the selling of those animals to unsuspecting members of the public.
“The defendants admitted breeding and selling dogs. Each puppy to them was of value purely for the price they could get for it. Sadly this is too often the case with people who breed and sell dogs for profit where the welfare of the dogs is not the top priority. To put it simply they were profiting in death and suffering.
“I hope this case will make people think before they respond to an advert in a newspaper, a card in a newsagents or an internet site advertising puppies as your actions could contribute to fund similar irresponsible dog breeders.
“I am pleased with the sentence imposed; that this back street puppy breeding business has been closed down means no other dogs will suffer at their hands and that at last we can now find new homes for the dogs.
“They have remained in our care for nearly a year because the defendants would not sign them over to us. Finally they can begin to get over their traumatic pasts and experience what it is like to be a much loved and cherished pet.” added Jayne.
Inspector Bashford also added her thanks to the caller who contacted the RSPCA after their puppy becoming unwell and every caller who calls the society as without them we cannot act.
Also commenting on the case, RSPCA regional Superintendent for the West Midlands Martyn Hubbard said: “It is our experience that when puppies are bred and sold as commodities purely as a means of making money the dogs’ welfare needs are way down a list of priorities. We need the public to be clear that by buying puppies from irresponsible breeders they are in essence supporting the sickening trade in puppy breeding and dealing. I would encourage anyone looking to buy a puppy to thoroughly do their research first and make sure they are going to a responsible breeder. Check out our website getpuppysmart.com which has a lot of helpful information about buying a puppy.”
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Notes to editor
The defendants each faced 10 charges of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act from causing unnecessary suffering to failure to protect the needs of the dogs.
The dogs removed were mainly Jack Russell Terrier crosses and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
A number of the dogs are available to be filmed/photographed at RSPCA Birmingham animal centre.
Photos and video evidence is available on request. Please be warned the video evidence in particular is graphic and very distressing. Please contact regional press officer, Judith Haw, on 07714 138 218.
To see the RSPCA’s helpful guide on buying a puppy please visit: http://getpuppysmart.com
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