Four people have been given suspended jail sentences after an undercover operation established two houses were being used as “front addresses”‚ to sell dogs from a puppy farm on a travellers’ site.
RSPCA investigators told Basildon Crown Court a gang operated in an organised and professional way to dupe unsuspecting members of the public out of money by using homes to sell the dogs from to con prospective buyers into believing they were getting puppies from a loving family.
Teresa Wade, 47, of Ship Lane, Aveley, in Essex, was sentenced to a 21-month jail term, suspended for two years, and a three-month curfew order and costs.
Victoria Montgomery, 55, of Melford Avenue, Barking, London was sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years, plus a three-month curfew order and costs.
Her daughter, Roxanne Montgomery, 33, of Grafton Road, Dagenham, in London, and her partner Tony Hammond, 36, of Brunswick Court, Upminster, also in London, were each sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work each plus costs.
All four defendants admitted the same offence – of making false representations as to the condition of the puppies being sold, intending to make a gain.
When the RSPCA and police executed a warrant at the travellers’ site – and the two front addresses – officers found 76 dogs and puppies, including poodles, cocker spaniels and some of the popular “designer” crossbreed types, such as cavachons, cockerpoos and golden doodles.
The dogs were seized and placed into the RSPCA’s care and a number of pregnant bitches went on to have 27 puppies in the charity’s centres.
Of the 103 dogs in total, four died, but courts ordered for the remaining 99 dogs to be rehomed ahead of the court hearing.