An illegal dog breeder from Carmarthenshire has been ordered to pay over £100,000 or face a 21-month prison sentence for selling puppies via various advertising platforms.
Deborah Thomas, of Llanddarog, earned more than £90,000 from the sales of nine litters of puppies over a 12-month period, without the appropriate licence.
Thomas had been advised by Carmarthenshire County Council of the licensing requirements on numerous occasions but continued to operate illegally.
Under the Breeding of Dogs Regulations (2014) it is illegal to advertise three or more litters of puppies from the same premises within a 12-month rolling period without a dog breeding licence.
The introduction of the Licensing of Activities Involving Animals Regulations in 2021, also means that anyone involved in the commercial selling of pet animals, on any scale, may need to be licensed.
In a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the court was told that animal welfare officers investigated Thomas’s illegal breeding activity following intelligence received by the department. Information provided by advertising platforms Gumtree, Pets4Homes, Preloved and Freeads highlighted the scale of the operation, and provided the evidence needed for the case to proceed.
A confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act was obtained for £90,000, payable within three months, with Thomas also having to pay an additional £10,000 costs.
Thomas also received a £1000 fine for the offending and must pay a £100 victim surcharge, payable within 12 months.
Failure to pay the confiscation order will result in a 21-month default sentence.
Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability, Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen said: “I must commend the work of our animal health officers in bringing this illegal dog breeder to justice.
“It is very important that dog breeders that wish to sell dogs commercially obtain the correct licence so that we, as a council, can correctly monitor the welfare of the animals involved. As this case proves, the council will take action against any dog breeder that does not comply with this requirement.”