Owner of Solihull puppy farm jailed for six months - The Solihull Observer

Owner of Solihull puppy farm jailed for six months

Solihull Editorial 23rd Feb, 2017   0

‘KEEP puppies quiet, do not let them bark. Squirt them or use whip to crack in yard.’

Just one of the instructions left on a whiteboard by a vile puppy farmer who bred and sold sick and dying puppies to unsuspecting buyers and who has now been jailed for six months after being found guilty of a number of animal welfare offences.

Sean Kerr, 52, of Coventry Road, Bickenhill, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court for a three-week trial, starting on January 30.

And on Thursday (February 16) he was found guilty of six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs and three offences of failing to meet the needs of a number of dogs.

As well as a six-month prison sentence, Kerr was disqualified from keeping dogs for life and ordered to pay £30,000 costs.

The RSPCA were alerted to Kerr in autumn 2015 after being contacted by a member of the public who had bought a schnauzer puppy which had then fallen ill.

An inspector attended and spoke with Kerr, giving him welfare advice about one mother and her litter.

But when a number of similar reports were made to the animal welfare charity’s cruelty line that December, RSPCA inspector Herchy Boal launched an investigation.

“When more complaints started pouring in, about different breeds of dogs, we were immediately suspicious,” said inspector Boal.

RSPCA and police officers executed a warrant in December 2015 and removed 37 dogs and puppies.

The body of a dead puppy was recovered from a plastic carrier bag in the footwell of a van parked at the farm.

Twenty-nine dogs and pups were removed from sheds and stables throughout the farm and 27 puppies were later born in RSPCA care.

“The dogs were being kept in cold, dark, filthy conditions. They were on wooden pallets and sawdust with no real bedding – it’s not how you’d expect to keep dogs,” inspector Boal added.

“Four dogs were locked in a room in complete darkness – three of them were pregnant. We didn’t even know they were there for the first two or three hours of our search.

“It was disgusting. They were absolutely terrified.”

One of the dogs, Daisy, was found with an untreated, dislocated hip for which she needed urgent surgery.

A pug called Doug had a painful skin condition and some of the puppies were born with deformities from bad breeding conditions.

On a whiteboard in one of the stables, officers found instructions for the daily care of the dogs, including: ‘Keep puppies quiet, do not let them bark. Squirt them or use whip to crack in yard.’

Paperwork and receipts found at the farm tied Kerr to puppy sales and 17 mobile phones were also removed and analysed, uncovering texts from some of the unsuspecting buyers who had contacted the RSPCA after their puppies had, in many cases, died just days or even hours after arriving home.

Prison officer Anita D’Souza paid £350 for the West Highland terrier puppy she bought from the farm in December 2015.

Just hours after arriving home to her new family, in Coventry, the tiny pup – named Riley – was dead.

Kerr lodged an appeal on his conviction and sentence. He pleaded not guilty to a charge under the Fraud Act which will be heard at Birmingham Crown Court next month.

A woman is also due to stand trial for a number of offences relating to the same address.

Most of the dogs rescued from the farm were fostered and all can now be rehomed.

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