Illegal dog sellers sentenced and fined more than £3,000

Three individuals have been prosecuted for illegally selling dogs without a licence in Lilford, Northamptonshire.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 21st October 2019, 5:31 pm
Dog breeders and sellers now need a licence

Nigel Hockey, Maxine Thornton and Evangeline Proctor were sentenced on Monday, October 14 at Wellingborough Magistrates court after pleading guilty to selling dogs without a licence in Lilford.

They were disqualified for five years from dealings in dogs, both selling and breeding, with immediate effect.

The trio also have to pay £3,000 each towards the prosecution's costs and an £85 victim surcharge. They were also handed a 12-month community order and have to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

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Make sure you always buy a puppy from a licensed seller

Officers at the East Northamptonshire council had been suspicious of illegal activity on the Lilford Estate for a number of years and obtained evidence in October 2018 which led to a full investigation and the prosecution earlier this month.

The council welcomed the result and are believed to be the first local authority to prosecute under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

Breeders need a licence to sell dogs in order to regulate the puppy industry and improve the welfare of dog breeding.

Cllr Steven North, leader of East Northants council said: "This case has highlighted that illegal dog sales can happen anywhere, especially in rural areas.

"We are delighted that the hard work of the team at East Northamptonshire Council has resulted in a conviction."

Nicholas Truelove, a barrister from Kings Chambers said: "This was a good result following an intense and lengthy investigation.

"It demonstrates that the new regulations have sufficient breadth to require licences for advertising the sale of, as well as the actual sale of, dogs and puppies for profit."

Cllr North added: "We are continuously working to prevent illegal traders from selling dogs and would urge anyone considering buying a new puppy to be vigilant and report concerns to the Environmental Services Animal Licensing Team."

If you are buying a puppy, you are advised to ask to see the mother and pup together, visit the breeder and puppy more than once, get all the puppy's paperwork including vaccinations and ensure it has been microchipped.

Walk away from the sale if you are unsure, report suspicious sellers or breeders and take your new puppy for a health check as soon as possible.

Also make sure to never meet anywhere that is not the puppy's home. Never buy from someone who can supply various breeds on demand, never buy a puppy that looks too young or underweight and do not buy a puppy that might have been illegally imported.

You can speak to East Northamptonshire council's Environmental Services Animal Licensing Team on 01832 742042.