Unlicenced dog breeders ordered to pay thousands of pounds in fines and court costs

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A married couple found guilty of illegal commercial dog breeding have been fined and ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs following a prosecution brought by Cornwall Council’s Licensing team.

On Thursday October 7, 2021 at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court, David Eric Stephens aged 61 and his wife, Angela Patricia Stephens aged 45, both residing at Wayland Farm, Pensilva, were found guilty of operating a commercial dog breeding operation without a licence.

Mr and Mrs Stephens were each fined £1,250 and ordered to pay £1,250 towards the Council’s costs and a victim surcharge of £125. In total, the couple were ordered to pay £5,250.

Mr Kevin Hill, prosecuting on behalf of the Council, told the court that the licensing team had identified the unlicenced dog breeding operation during a spot check to the farm where a large number of dogs and a litter of puppies were discovered hidden both in a barn and in the attic space of another barn.

File picture of a dog

The court was satisfied that the subsequent Council investigation established beyond reasonable doubt that during the pandemic lockdown in 2020 when the price of dogs and puppies had risen dramatically, at least three but possibly more litters of puppies had been bred and then sold commercially.

Councillor Carol Mould, portfolio holder for Neighbourhoods at Cornwall Council, said: “The outcome of this case sends a clear message that unlicensed dog breeders will be sought out, fully investigated and, if required, prosecuted.

“The Council will always endeavour to work with dog breeders to achieve compliance with dog breeding legislation and to maintain high levels of animal welfare. There are some breeders who pose problems for potential purchasers, the Council and the animals themselves and we are taking steps to address these issues.”

Press release issued on October 14, 2021

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