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‘Puppy farmer’ found guilty
13th August 2019

By Karen Pickwick

A ‘puppy farmer’ has been convicted of eight animal welfare offences after RSPCA officers found ‘depressed’ dogs living in dark, dirty conditions in Kent.

The charity’s Special Operations Unit launched an investigation after four members of the public made complaints, having bought puppies from a property between December 2017 and February last year. They became suspicious after their puppies became ill. All of the pups died.

Yesterday (August 12), Mark Burgess (39), of Old Ashford Road, Brenzett, was convicted of eight offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. He appeared at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court to hear the judge’s verdict after the case was adjourned after his trial in June.

RSPCA officers joined police to execute a warrant at the Brenzett property on February 21. Twenty dogs – 12 adults and eight puppies – were found living in unsuitable conditions and were seized by police and placed into RSPCA care.

'HORRIFYING DISCOVERY'

RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport, lead investigator, said: “We found a mix of different breeds at the site including beagles, Dalmatians, spaniels and dachshund crosses.

“Some were pregnant, others had litters of tiny puppies while some had clear signs that they’d been used for breeding previously.”

Many of the dogs were being kept in wholly inadequate and unsuitable conditions, some in dark, cold kennels and others in filthy makeshift runs.

An elderly German shepherd was found living outside, tethered to an old wooden kennel. A vet said she was showing signs of skin disease – her shaggy coat was patchy and bald in places – and had muscle wastage and weak back legs.

Inspector Lamport added: “When we searched a freezer onsite we made a horrifying discovery; a small, four-week-old puppy. The body was frozen rigid and dumped in the bottom of a blood-soaked freezer.”

Two cats and three kittens suffering from cat flu were also seized and later signed over. The German shepherd was put to sleep but the remaining dogs were all signed over into RSPCA care and rehomed.

Mark Burgess is due back for sentencing on September 23 at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court.