#TheList illegal puppy trader Christopher Gorman, born May 1963, of 51 Killearn Crescent, Plains, near Airdrie ML6 7UN – imported puppies from Lithuanian puppy farms before selling them on as ‘home-bred’; kept dogs and puppies in appalling conditions; left puppies to suffer from parvo-virus; caught on camera beating dogs with a stick
In two separate prosecution cases, millionaire landlord Christopher Gorman was convicted of a catalogue of dog cruelty charges. Gorman, who alongside wife Karen Gorman and son Christopher Gorman junior, had faced a drugs investigation (outcome unknown), had been on the Scottish SPCA’s radar for years for his antics.
Gorman’s first conviction came on 31 May 2017 following a Scottish SPCA raid on his property in the village of Plains, near Airdrie.
Animal welfare officers found dozens of puppies and dogs with open wounds living in their own faeces and suffering from health problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea and cherry eye.
One dog was so ill vets had to put it down almost immediately.
The court heard that Gorman bought puppies from farms in Lithuania and England before selling them on to unsuspecting buyers. He was caught after complaints about the conditions of the animals triggered the Scottish SPCA investigation.
Welfare officers made repeated visits to Gorman’s home and removed dogs from the premises but the court heard how he continued to buy and sell of his own accord.
In May 2017 he was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 45 dogs, trading without a license, exposing the same animals to unsatisfactory conditions and failing to provide necessary nutrition for them.
The businessman, who owns a raft of properties valued at a total of £1.2m, had denied 11 charges of failing to properly care for the animals, mainly French bulldogs, between June 2015 and January 2016.
Despite his denial those dogs will be the last to live under his roof until at least 2027, after Sheriff Derek O’Carroll ruled Gorman is “an unsuitable person to look after any animal whatsoever.”
Defence advocate Lewis Kennedy said in mitigation: “His marriage broke down in 2015 and relations were still strained on his wife’s return in January 2016.
“That distraction led to a loss of focus from Mr Gorman.
“This was not callous behaviour but may be categorised as reckless conduct by someone who ended up well out of his depth.
“He is able to pay a significant monetary penalty and a fine is a realistic sentence given the economic background of his extensive property portfolio.”
Commenting on the investigation, an undercover Scottish SPCA officer said, “Gorman has clearly shown he has no remorse for what he’s done. He did not have a licence to sell dogs but continued to do so over a long period of time.
“The conditions were not appropriate for the number of dogs being kept and bred, and posed serious hygiene concerns, specifically the ability to disinfect and prevent the spread of infection and disease.
“There were faeces all over the yard and inside the house and this would have increased the risk of spread of disease, worms and infection.
“It’s clear from his disregard that his priority was money making, not the welfare of the dogs in his care.”
Sentencing Gorman, Sheriff O’Carroll told him: “You acquired a large number of dogs and puppies and used your home and garden to keep these dogs in an entirely unsuitable and unhygienic environment.
“You persisted in keeping them in such conditions ignoring expert advice from the SSPCA and a vet.
“You are poorly qualified to give treatment to the dogs and as a result many were caused unnecessary suffering.
“Throughout these lengthy proceedings you have denied any wrongdoing and responsibility despite expert evidence to the contrary.
“You blamed everybody but yourself for the conditions of the dogs and the puppies.”
Gorman now faces a proceeds of crime probe by prosecutors who believe he has profited from dealing in animal misery.
He also reportedly faces a six-figure tax demand from HMRC.
For the first conviction Gorman was fined £500 and banned from keeping animals for 10 years for his actions. He also received a six-month tagging order.
Daily Record 24/07/2017
In September 2017 Gorman was back in court to face charges of keeping puppies and dogs in appalling conditions and beating them with wooden sticks. The latest charges related to 11 mastiff dogs whom he had kept in filthy conditions in the back garden of his house.
Gorman was found guilty of allowing the death of a puppy in his care and repeatedly striking dogs with a large piece of wood.
The offences happened in June 2016, at Gorman’s home.
Airdrie Sheriff Court heard that on 3 June 2016, a witness heard a large pack of dogs barking aggressively in the rear garden of his home.
The witness filmed Gorman repeatedly striking the dogs on the body with a piece of wood and then contacted the Scottish SPCA, which was granted permission to carry out a search of the premises.
A large number of dogs were found in the garden with no form of segregation. The conditions were described as filthy, with large quantities of faecal matter over a significant area of the rear garden.
During the search, two mastiff puppies were found lying beneath a radiator in a room next to the kitchen.
One of the puppies was dead and the other had to be put down. A post-mortem examination concluded that one of them had died from canine parvovirus.
Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit, said: “This was a case of widespread and indiscriminate neglect and the dogs in Gorman’s care were caused terrible and unnecessary suffering with Gorman failing to provide them with a suitable environment or adequate care.
“We expect the highest standards of commercial dog breeders and are committed to working with the Scottish SPCA and the police to ensure that those who do not meet these standards are held to account.”
An undercover Scottish SPCA Inspector said Gorman had a “long history” of maltreating dogs in his care.
“This case has highlighted his ongoing cruelty and we’re delighted that he has been dealt with by the courts”, he said.
“The mastiff-type puppies were suffering from parvo virus which is an excruciatingly debilitating illness which can, in some cases, result in death.
“To not seek veterinary treatment for these pups despite their obvious distress shows Gorman’s priorities lay entirely in the profit that could be gained from selling on puppies to naive new owners, rather than in the welfare of the dogs.”
Sentencing (October 2017): fined £2600 and banned from keeping animals for life.
Daily Record 25/10/2017