Illegal puppy farming gang are jailed after selling sick dogs to owners

Multiple dogs were rescued from horrific conditions (Picture: SWNS)

Members of a puppy farming gang have been jailed after pocketing more than £500,000 from selling sick and dying dogs to unsuspecting customers.

Wally David Beaney, Louise Smith, Maria Smith and Charlotte Lauren Byron were all handed prison sentences for duping the public and showing ‘cruelty and neglectful behaviour’ that led to deaths of multiple dogs.

A fifth member of the gang, Debbie Lorraine Lampard, was given a conditional discharge after admitting one charge.

The gang ‘reaped considerable financial benefit by repeatedly breeding dogs, all the while failing to provide appropriate medical care’.

A joint police and RSPCA probed was launched after people who purchased the sick dogs raised the alarm.

Some of the puppies had been poorly with parvo virus – a highly contagious and often fatal illness – and had died within days of being taken to their new home.

The conditions the dogs were living in were described as ‘dark and smelly’ (Picture: SWNS)

The dogs were taken away and have been given treatment (Picture: SWNS)

Three raids were then carried out at properties in Kent in September 2021, where more than 30 dogs were found in horrible conditions.

A vet described the puppies’ living conditions as ‘dark and smelly’, with three puppies requiring ‘urgent’ veterinary attention.

Many adult dogs were also found in the garden of the raided properties – including two pregnant dogs who were riddled with parasites and dental issues.

Phones containing enquiries from people about purchasing the puppies were also seized during the search.

RSPCA inspector Vikki Dawe said: ‘These dogs were all being kept in horrible conditions with very poor care which did not remotely reflect the expectations of buyers who saw the adverts placed for them.’

Woolwich Crown Court heard that, in one instance, three Golden Retriever puppies, all purchased from Byron’s address in Kent in July 2021, died within four days of being purchased.

Three dogs died shortly after going to their new owners (Picture: SWNS)

The RSPCA and police were alerted to the farm after owners raised the alarm (Picture: SWNS)

A vet who examined the case said in a statement: ‘This suggests that the seller knew a litter mate was sick at the time of their sale.

‘Yet the other puppy purchasers were not notified, either at purchase that a litter mate was unwell or that a litter mate became unwell.

‘It is my opinion that the seller failed to protect the three pups discussed in this report by not sharing with the new owners that he had detected signs of disease in another litter mate.’

All five defendants were sentenced on January 25.

Beaney, 39, of Meopham, Kent, was sentenced to four and a half years immediate custody and a ten year-ban on keeping dogs.

He pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, as well as one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

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Louise Smith, 63, also from Meopham, was sentenced to two years and four months custody, and banned from keeping dogs for five years after pleading guilty to one offence under Animal Welfare Act 2006 and one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Maria Smith, 35, of Meopham, was sentenced to two years and four months custody, and disqualified from keeping dogs for five years as she pleaded guilty to two offences under Animal Welfare Act 2006, and a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Byron, 36, of Meopham, was sentenced to two years and three months custody after pleading guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Lampard, 60, of Vigo, Kent, was sentenced to an 18 month conditional discharge, after pleading guilty to selling puppies without a licence.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw, of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force, said: ‘Those convicted reaped considerable financial benefit by repeatedly breeding dogs, all the while failing to provide the animals and their puppies with appropriate medical care, such as worming medication and inoculations.

‘They demonstrated cruelty and neglectful behaviour that ultimately led to numerous animals losing their lives unnecessarily.’

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