Woman sentenced for unlicensed puppy breeding

Esme the dog

Esme, who is now back with Phoenix Rehoming - Credit: Sarah Taylor

A woman who admitted selling puppies without a licence has been sentenced in what is believed to be the first private criminal prosecution for the offence. 

Nicola Palmer, of Adams Place, Kesgrave, had been volunteering for dog charity Phoenix Rehoming when she fostered and then adopted two dogs - Diesel and Esme. 

It was agreed that Palmer, 39, would get the dogs neutered when they were old enough in line with terms and conditions against breeding. 

But it was then discovered by Phoenix Rehoming in March last year via social media that some puppies were to be born. 

Diesel is now back with Phoenix Rehoming

Diesel, who is now back with Phoenix Rehoming - Credit: Sarah Taylor

Due to the difficulties around the first Covid-19 lockdown, the charity was not able to get an injunction to stop Palmer selling the puppies but a prosecution was brought by Animal Protection Services. 

Appearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich on Wednesday, Palmer pleaded guilty to operating a business of breeding and selling dogs without a licence. 

Palmer received a 12-month conditional discharge, and was ordered to pay costs of £230 and a victim surcharge of £21. 

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It is believed to be the first private prosecution for the unlicensed sales of puppies and one of only a handful of prosecutions ever to be taken under the legislation.

Sarah Taylor, president of Hampshire-based Phoenix Rehoming, said: "It's a fantastic result that something has been done. 

"There are terms and conditions in place for the animals' welfare. Both Diesel and Esme are now back in our care and we'll find homes for them. 

"There are reasons why terms and conditions are in place and it's to protect things like this from happening. 

"The first thing we have in the forefront of our minds is the welfare of all our dogs that we rehome. We are a small charity but I'd say to people: 'Don't think you can take us for a ride' or 'don't think we're not going to stand up for ourselves when something isn't right' because we will.

"If you're not doing the right thing by a dog, we will take action."

Ms Taylor added that the demand for puppies has remained very high since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. 

"We're still getting inundated with people wanting to adopt because many people will never return to work in the same way again," she said.

"They'll be a lot more working from home so people who weren't in a position to adopt before, are now."

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