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Dogs at risk of exposed nails and lack of water at Telford 'puppy farm', court hears

By Rob Smith | Telford | Crime | Published:

Skinny dogs at an alleged puppy farm near Telford were left without drinking water and at risk of walking into exposed nails, a court heard.

A vet who examined the conditions at McDonagh Lodge, Arleston Brook, concluded that the 55 dogs found and seized there were at risk of suffering.

Police and the RSPCA raided McDonagh Lodge in November 2018 and found several of the dogs with no access to clean water and suffering problems including hair loss, low weight and diarrhoea.

They included King Charles spaniels, dachshunds and terriers, among others. All 55 were taken into custody.

The case so far:

Betty Chanelle Burton, 34, Jeff James McDonagh, 37, and Luke Gillman, 27, all lived at Arleston Brook and are on trial accused of selling puppies to members of the public under the pretence that they were home-bred.

Yesterday the trial was read a report from Dr Tom Cammack, a vet who inspected the site and the dogs.

His report said that some dogs were kept in pens in a hand-made wooden shed, which had exposed nails and screws protruding at a low level.

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Some had no access to drinking water and rushed to drink when he gave them some, he said.

Ferry

Gillman was at McDonagh Lodge and was arrested by police when they arrived, while Burton and McDonagh were arrested later.

Prosecutor Hazel Stevens also read to the court the account of a former Merseyside Police officer who found McDonagh getting off a ferry in Liverpool in the summer of 2013 with a van full of dogs.

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Retired Pc Craig Thompson said that he and a colleague were routinely checking people dismounting a ferry.

One of those they checked was McDonagh, driving a white van which had more than 10 dogs in the back, with no access to water.

When asked, McDonagh told the police he had been given the dogs by his mother in County Westmeath, in the Republic of Ireland.

He said that he was going to give the dogs to friends and family in Manchester. He was prompted to give them some water and was then allowed to continue.

All three defendants deny conspiring to commit fraud and the trial continues.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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