A COUPLE who operated an illegal puppy sale operation must pay £150,000 within three months or risk going to prison.
William Derrick Perriton and Rebecca Heath were given the warning from a judge as a “landmark” council investigation which spanned several years came to its conclusion.
Perriton, 42, and Heath, 39, both of Church Road, Three Legged Cross, caused unnecessary suffering through the unlicensed puppy farm.
All puppies were brought back to full health and successfully rehomed via an animal rescue charity.
The pair pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, failing to take steps to ensure the needs of animals were met and carrying out a dog breeding and selling business for 14 months without a licence but avoided a ban from owning dogs.
Last month, Perriton and Heath were issued with 12-month community orders, with a requirement to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work by a judge at Bournemouth Crown Court.
Back in the dock on Friday, November 25, the confiscation order and court costs they would be required to pay were confirmed.
A confiscation order is made against a convicted defendant ordering them to pay the amount of their financial benefit from crime. As the defendants were selling puppies without a licence, the income they made from selling puppies needs to be paid.
Perriton was ordered to pay £115,000 or risk 18 months in prison. Heath was ordered to pay £34,840 or risk nine months in prison. Both also need to pay £4,500 each in prosecution costs, with a victim surcharge of £85 each.
Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council portfolio holder for customer and community services, said: “This is a landmark case for Dorset Council, involving an enormous amount of work from officers in our environmental health, legal and trading standards teams. I’m sure everyone will join me in thanking all those involved for their efforts in getting this great result.
“Anyone who truly loves dogs – or animals generally – needs to understand that using an unlicensed breeder to purchase a pet is effectively supporting an illegal business, often without any consideration of the welfare and environmental needs of the animals being sold.”
As reported, the offenders failed to meet the needs of dozens of Cane Corso puppies.
The court heard there was evidence of puppies being sold for between £900 and £1,200.
The dogs were kept in two windowless, single-storey outbuildings. There was a strong smell of ammonia and bedding was ringing wet with urine, a prosecutor said.
Dorset Council, who carried out the investigation into the puppy farm, is set to around £55,000 of the confiscation order funds.
This will go into the Community and Public Protection budget to be spent for the benefit of the community on general prevention and enforcement measures. The rest is split between central government and the HM Courts & Tribunals Service.
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