Telford puppy farm raid found 55 dogs and sees three accused of fraud

A police and RSPCA raid found 55 dogs and puppies allegedly being farmed then offered for sale as home-bred.

A jury at Shrewsbury Crown Court was told 42 puppies said to be connected to the defendants had been sold in the Telford area, with 15 of them dying and all the rest needing veterinary care.

The animals were said to be linked to a larger, Manchester-based puppy farming operation with 1,439 puppies sold for £253,885 over three years.

Yesterday Betty Chanelle Burton, aged 34, and Jeff James McDonagh, 37, both of Arleston Brook, Telford, denied conspiring to commit fraud between 2015 and 2018 by falsely representing to members of the public that puppies being sold were home-bred.

A third man, Luke Gillman, 27, of the same address, has also denied the charge and is being tried in his absence.

Miss Hazel Stevens, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the charity was contacted by people worried about the health of puppies they had bought or that had been offered for sale through adverts.

The investigations were initially centred on addresses in the Manchester area and telephones to which Burton and McDonagh had connections, and then to addresses in the Telford area, including the couple’s home.

Gillman, Miss Stevens said, was an employee and lived in a caravan at their address.

The puppies offered for sale were varied including cockerpoos, cavapoos, beagles and dachshunds.

On November 20, 2018, police and RSPCA inspectors executed a warrant at the couple's home.

They discovered 55 dogs and puppies which, because of their condition, were taken from the premises. Also found in a cupboard were items that, Miss Stevens said, could be seen in photographs advertising puppies for sale, such as a fireplace and a dog bowl.

The hearing continues.

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