Violet Smith, of Wilton Avenue, Kidderminster, appeared at Dudley Magistrates’ Court today charged with offences under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The proceedings were brought by Animal Protection Services, a registered charity that investigates and prosecutes organised animal cruelty.
The prosecution follows an undercover investigation where investigators visited Mrs Smith’s address to view puppies. The investigators were not allowed into the house and viewed the puppies on the doorstep. The covert test purchase was recorded on film and formed the prosecution evidence leading to the conviction.
In mitigation, Mrs Smith told the court that she was on Universal Credit and that she “cannot remember how many litters she had in 2019”. District Judge Wilkinson remarked that Mrs Smith had defrauded the local authority, the taxpayer, and the benefits office.
Mrs Smith was ordered to pay a fine of £2,000, a statutory surcharge of £190, and a contribution to investigation costs of £3,221. Furthermore, Mrs Smith was given a disqualification from dealing in dogs and cats for three years.
A spokesperson on behalf of Animal Protection Services said: “We are pleased with the outcome of the sentencing at court today. It is a testament to the brave work of our covert intelligence-led teams that risk their own safety to bring criminals to justice.
It is a great day for animal welfare, and we hope that the significant fine will serve as a warning to other criminals who are looking to take advantage of animals for financial profit”.