Burnhope, Durham: Kevin Knox

#TheList puppy farmer Kevin Knox, born c. 1959, of The Grove, Burnhope, Durham DH7 0AH – sold poorly puppies without a licence to unsuspecting buyers

Puppy dealer Kevin Knox of Burnhope, Durham
Kevin Knox, who was previously exposed in a BBC documentary on puppy farming, has finally ben sent to jail and has also been hit with a huge tax bill

Kevin Knox, who traded as Ivy Leaf Kennels, sold puppies which buyers complained were sick on three occasions, while not in possession of a pet shop licence.

Two of those sales were made to customers who had responded to adverts placed under the false name of Graham Thompson.

Knox has now been jailed for eight months and given a five year ban from operating a pet shop, following a prosecution by Durham County Council.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Knox was a partner in Ivy Leaf at a premises elsewhere in the village, under a pet shop licence, until March 2018.

A judge was told that the council’s animal health team investigated beyond this date and concluded that the premises was still being run as a pet shop despite a licence no longer being in place.

Evidence was found of Knox advertising on the pet shop’s website and other online sales pages using a false name.

The court heard how in June 2018, the council received a complaint of a puppy, having been purchased via the Ivy Leaf website, becoming ill on the day of purchase.

Enquiries revealed that the purchasers contacted the business and spoke to Knox.

They then attended the Ivy Leaf site where Knox’s business partner showed them a selection of puppies and sold them one.

Further enquiries revealed that the defendant bought microchips and that he took 33 puppies in to vets between June and August 2018.

Knox pleaded guilty to two charges at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court in March – operating without a pet shop licence and giving false information as to his identity.

The sentencing hearing was told how Knox’s licence had been due for renewal in December 2017 and how he had taken until the February of the following year to seek this.

However the council refused the application in April 2018. The business had considered appealing but chose not to.

At the time, it had 30 dogs on the premises and the court heard Knox panicked and did not know what to do.

He accepted he could have called the council to ask but did not. Knox chose to sell the remaining puppies without a licence and used a neighbour’s name, although receipts were given in the name of Ivy Leaf.

The judge was told Knox had since lost his business, his house and his wife; broken his ankles and was in receipt of Universal Credit.

Sentencing: four months in prison for the offence of giving false information and one month for not having a pet shop licence, with these to be served at the same time. He was given a further four months in prison for breaching a suspended sentence. Five-year ban on operating a pet shop.

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