Cambs breeder left 44 starving dogs locked in room full of their own poo

One of Draper's neglected dogs
-Credit: (Image: East Cambridgeshire District Council)


A Cambridgeshire woman who allowed 44 dogs and puppies to become severely underweight and sold them for prices as high as £5,000 each has been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering. Jackie Draper, 38, has been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence and banned from keeping animals for ten years.

None of the dogs kept by Draper, who lived in Wardy Hill and now lives in March, had access to water. Faeces and urine was scattered throughout her home, and broken glass and faeces lay in her garden.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that Draper had bred 23 litters of puppies over the Covid period. She pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which relating to dog breeding and advertising the sale of dogs without a necessary licence, failing to meet the five welfare needs of 44 dogs and causing unnecessary suffering to a cocker spaniel puppy.

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This chocolate cocker spaniel, called Ronnie, was so anaemic, malnourished and emaciated when he arrived at the vets that he collapsed and required emergency care. Some of the dogs had visible bones and poor muscle mass, and several had major flea infestations and ear mites.

A Jack Russell Terrier crossed with a chihuahua puppy required intensive round-the-clock nursing, and a cockapoo was described as representing the “worst case of grooming neglect” a dog groomer had seen in 15 years.

Ronnie now, having been looked after properly
Ronnie now, having been removed from Draper's care -Credit:East Cambridgeshire District Council

Daisy, a seven-year-old Cavachon in poor health, had been bred from on three consecutive occasions despite suffering from a seizure. A spokesperson for East Cambridgeshire District Council confirmed all the rescued dogs had since been re-homed, including Ronnie and Daisy who are now cared for by two council officers.

One advert from July 2020 was for a litter of eight Cavapoochon puppies with price tags between £3,500 and £5,000 each. Evidence provided by NatureWatch showed Draper to be maintaining a social media account with nearly 2000 members that she was using to advertise puppies.

An East Cambridgeshire District Council dog warden and an RSPCA officer first attended Ms Draper’s home in August 2020 following complaints of sick puppies being sold at the property. They discovered underweight French bulldogs suffering from diarrhoea with blood in it, alongside a female Pomeranian, Boston terriers and poodles.

Draper was advised to stop trading immediately as she did not have a licence and was instructed to take all the French bulldogs in her care to the vets. The defendant later emailed the council to say she intended to keep breeding but only once she had applied for a licence.

One of the malnourished dogs
One of the malnourished dogs -Credit:East Cambridgeshire District Council

The court heard that no application for a breeding licence was ever made, but Draper continued to breed and sell puppies. In August 2022, a warrant was executed. Inside Draper's home, there were 14 adult dogs, two of which were heavily pregnant, 14 older puppies and 16 newborn puppies.

Further searches revealed that Draper had bred more than 23 litters of puppies between 2020 and 2022.

The court heard the scale and organisation of the activity demonstrated it was “deliberate, pre-planned, premeditated and motivated by profit with disregard to the needs of the dogs”. It also heard the defendant was “adequately aware” that the level of care being provided to the dogs was not sufficient.

In mitigation, Draper’s solicitor said she had been given the dogs from family members, she had taken some to the vets, and her ex-partner had been the driving force behind the breeding.

The conditions the dogs were living in
The conditions the dogs were living in -Credit:East Cambridgeshire District Council

Sentencing her, District Judge Sheraton, said: “People who know me would not describe me as a dog lover, but I would never treat a dog as you have done so. You have described yourself as a dog lover but the way you have treated them is far from displaying that.

"Whatever the background, these decisions were yours to take. You have made money in the past and it is perfectly clear to me that nothing has gone to these dogs. It may be that you have gone to the vets but these unsanitary conditions did not happen overnight."

For causing unnecessary suffering, Ms Draper was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. She was handed a two-month suspended sentence for each of the other two offences, which will run concurrently.

She was also banned from keeping or looking after any animals for ten years, ordered to attend 15 rehabilitation activities, 12 sessions of mental health counselling and complete 200 hours of unpaid community-based work. She must contribute £5000 towards the £40,000 prosecution costs.

A spokesperson for East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “At East Cambridgeshire District Council, we take concerns over animal welfare very seriously and we’re committed to ensuring a level playing field for licensed dog breeders.

"It is important that we take action against cruel and unscrupulous individuals who operate illegally, with no regard for the law or the welfare of the animals they are making money from."