Tag Archives: illegal breeding

Upham, Hampshire: Lucinda and Victoria Rolph

#TheList puppy farmers Lucinda S Rolph, born 14/06/1966 and daughter Victoria J Rolph, born 22/03/1989, both of Woodward Farm, Alma Lane, Upham, near Southampton SO32 1HE

Puppy farmers Lucinda and Victoria Rolph from Upham, Hampshire
Puppy farmers Victoria and Lucinda Rolph pictured outside court

Lucinda Rolph has been ordered to pay £600,000 through a court confiscation order after pleading guilty to running an unlicensed dog breeding farm. Her daughter Victoria Rolph also pleaded guilty to same offence, with a lesser role, and has been ordered to pay almost £15,000.

Licensing officers from the local authority caught wind of the pair’s operation in May 2015 and carried out a warrant at their £600,000 farm in the village of Upham, near Southampton. There they found litters of puppies as well as adult dogs.

Despite being warned that they needed a licence for commercial breeding, the Rolphs continued to advertise dogs and puppies for sale, sometimes under different names, without one.

The pair came to the attention of licensing officers again after a miniature Dachshund they sold died weeks later of canine parvovirus.

Prosecutor Ethu Crorie told the court how the pair would advertise puppies and adult dogs for sale online via Pets4Homes and Preloved. They advertised 38 different breeds, with prices ranging from £500 to £1,500 per animal.

Mr Crorie added there was no record of sales or receipts and the pair did not have any tax records.

The pair had several accounts in their own names and 18 with other people’s names – some of whom they knew and were unaware that their name was being used.

Mr Crorie said that if every dog had sold as advertised and none of the adverts were duplicated, the pair could have been paid as much as £1.5 million pounds.

In sentencing the pair, Judge Henry, inset, said: “Lucinda Rolph was warned of the need for having a licence in 2015.

“She said at that stage she was thinking about giving everything up.

“She was well aware a licence was required.

“She kept no records of this lucrative business and they used fake names to hide the fact they were still selling adult and puppies during this period.”

Sentencing: Lucinda Rolph was ordered to pay £601,700 within a three-month period or face a five-year prison sentence in default. She was also told to pay costs of £20,000 and to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.

Victoria Rolph was ordered to pay £14,950 within a three-month period or face six months in prison in default. She was also told to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.

Both Rolphs were also given a dog breeding banning order for six years.

Daily Echo

Thurlton, Norwich: Carole Rushmer

#TheList puppy farmer Carole L Rushmer, born 08/11/1959, of Home Farm, Low Road, Norwich NR14 6PZ

Puppy farmer Carole Rushmer (far right) with Michael and Zoe Rushmer all of Norwich, UK.
Puppy farmer Carole Rushmer (far right) with Michael and Zoe Rushmer.

Carole Rushmer has been banned from buying or selling dogs for two years for her involvement in a family-run puppy farm.

She admitted causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs she kept at her farm in Thurlton in Norwich.

Three other family members – Zoe Rushmer, Michael Rushmer and Jacob Murphy – have already been sentenced for their part in a scam, which netted more than £300,000.

The puppies, which have since been rehomed, showed signs of worms and had fur matted with excrement and burns on their skin, magistrates were told.

The court was told Rushmer’s late husband Michael had started a puppy farm to clear debts and later involved his daughter Zoe Rushmer, her partner Jacob Murphy and later his son, also called Michael Rushmer.

She admitted having provided premises for the puppy farm in Thurlton, though her lawyer said she had been coerced into it and was subjected to violence.

RSPCA inspector Amy Pellegrini, who worked on the case for four years, said some puppies were “emaciated”.

The RSPCA removed 74 dogs including several pregnant bitches, one of whom had 93 puppies.

“Being that age, they were very lucky to be alive in those conditions,” she said, speaking outside court.

“That’s not something that we see every day. To see something like that is very upsetting.”

Jacob Murphy, Michael Rushmer and Zoe Rushmer were sentenced in June 2019 for having sold ill or dying dogs they pretended had come from a family environment.

They kept some of the 74 animals in cages, dark sheds and a caravan in temperatures up to 30C (86F), Norwich Crown Court was told.

Murphy and Michael Rushmer were each jailed for 42 months, while Zoe Rushmer was given a two-year suspended jail sentence. They were all banned from keeping animals for life.

Sentencing: 14-week curfew; banned from buying or selling dogs for two years.

BBC News

Cannock, Staffordshire: Kevin Bramwell

#TheList illegal dog breeder and trader Kevin Bramwell, born 21/02/1957, of John Street, Cannock WS12 2RL

 27 dogs and 2 raccoons were found hidden inside vehicles and sheds with no water or food, at Kevin Bramwell's business premises in Rugeley, Staffordshire.
27 dogs and 2 raccoons were found hidden inside vehicles and filthy sheds with no water or food, at Kevin Bramwell’s business premises in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

Kevin Bramwell, who gave his address in court as Leathermill Road, Rugeley but actually lives in John Street, Cannock, with his partner, admitted 11 charges – eight of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, one running a breeding establishment without licence, one of having an unlicensed pet shop and one of fraud by false representation

 27 dogs and 2 raccoons were found hidden inside vehicles and sheds with no water or food, at Kevin Bramwell's business premises in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

Officers from Cannock Chase Council found 27 dogs and two raccoons inside vehicles and sheds at the premises of KV Plant & Machinery on Power Station Road, Rugeley, Staffordshire, which is operated by Bramwell.

 27 dogs and 2 raccoons were found hidden inside vehicles and filthy sheds with no water or food, at Kevin Bramwell's business premises in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

They say the animals were overcrowded, surrounded by faeces and flies, and showing signs of disease.

A local vet was engaged to assess them, and they were taken into the Council’s possession.

The authority cared for the animals, some of which required treatment, whilst the Dogs Trust volunteered to find permanent homes for them.

 27 dogs and 2 raccoons were found hidden inside vehicles and filthy sheds with no water or food, at Kevin Bramwell's business premises in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

The subsequent investigation showed that Bramwell was breeding dogs and selling them through several websites.

Adverts were traced back to 2014 and totalled almost £50,000.

By not having the required licences Bramwell was able to operate under the radar.

The Council say Bramwell preyed on unsuspecting members of the public who were unwittingly buying from this illegal puppy farm, in the mistaken belief that he was a legitimate vendor.

Puppy farmer Kevin Bramwell of Cannock in Staffordshire
Puppy farmer Bramwell lives with his partner in Cannock

Councillor John Preece, Environment Portfolio Leader said “To anyone looking to have a puppy, please consider rehoming a rescue dog from one of the recognised charities that specialise in caring for stray or abandoned dogs.

“If you do decide to buy privately or from a breeder, please make reasonable enquiries about the vendor, ensure you see the mother and puppies together at the place where they were born and raised.

“Check for proof of vaccinations, microchipping and worming.

“If it’s a breeder, check they have the appropriate licence from the Council for breeding dogs or selling pets.

”The best outcome from this case is that the 29 animals were successfully rehomed.

“I must thank the Dogs Trust for their support in achieving this.

“To anyone considering operating an illegal puppy farm within the District, this case shows you will be found and you will be prosecuted as demonstrated today.”

Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence for animal welfare and licensing offences and a further 52 weeks for fraud. A minimum 35 weeks of the sentence to be served in custody with the remainder on licence. Disqualified from keeping any animal for 10 years with no review for five years.

Signal2
BirminghamLive

Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire: Tina Harris and Stuart Ward

#TheList backyard breeders and puppy traders Tina Harris, born February 1985, and Stuart Ward, born February 1986, both of 82 Main Street, Barton under Needwood, Burton-on-Trent DE3 8AB – prosecuted for breeding without a licence

Greeder Tina Harris and her partner Stuart Ward sold English bulldog puppies via Facebook and online classified sites like Pets4Homes

Stuart Ward and Tina Harris, of T&S Four Paws Limited, were raided by Trading Standards and Environmental health on March 6, 2018, after someone complained about a puppy sale.

East Staffordshire Borough Council’s investigation found the business had a licence to sell the dogs, but didn’t have one to breed them.

Ward and Harris pleaded guilty to not complying with their licence conditions along with breeding puppies.

Puppy dealer and illegal breeder Tina Harris from Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Puppy dealer and illegal breeder Tina Harris

Harris admitted failing to keep a record of each puppy’s date of birth, arrival and sale.

She also admitted falsely marketing a West Highland Terrier as a pedigree animal on September 10, 2017.

And Harris entered a guilty plea to using “false contact details as if (she) were a private seller” on the Pets4homes website.

Sentencing:
Ward received a 12 month community order and has been ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and attend 9 sessions for reading & writing skills. He was fined £1,275.41 with £81.00 surcharge to court.

Harris also received a 12 month community order and has been ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work. She has also been fined £1,275.41 with £81.00 surcharge to court.

Both have been disqualified from having or obtaining a pet shop licence and breeding licence for 2 years. Over £2,500 in cash was seized during the raid, which will be retained to cover the Council’s costs.

StokeonTrent Live
Derbyshire Live

Marstow, Ross-on-Wye: puppy farmer Leigh Hancock

#TheList Leigh Hancock, born February 1984, of 1 Old Dry Arch Cottages, Marstow, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6EQ – ran a puppy farm and conned buyers they were ‘family-raised pets’

Illegal Lydney puppy dealer Leigh Hancock was jailed for nine months
Illegal puppy dealer Leigh Hancock was jailed for nine months

Leigh Hanock pleaded guilty to illegally selling puppies and laundering the proceeds of his crimes

The puppy farmer, formerly of Rodley Road, Lydney, Gloucester, was turning out “conveyor belt puppies” which were in poor condition when he sold them.

The court heard Hancock “blitzed” social media with adverts for Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies that were purportedly the result of ‘accidental pregnancies’ but were in fact from the puppy farm he ran from an adapted shed in the back of his former home in  Lydney.

Adult dogs found in Leigh Hancock's back garden in an adapted shed
Adult dogs found in Leigh Hancock’s back garden in an adapted shed

He would say the puppies were socialised with humans, children and other family pets when the reality was they were kept in cages in the shed.

Trading standards officers analysed a series of advertisements that Hancock placed under various pseudonyms.

Prosecutor Rosamund Rutter said: “A hundred adverts were associated with the defendant – and seven mobile numbers.”

Hancock used various email addresses including the name of one of his children on one email. This was ‘to avoid advertising platforms suspecting he was a trader rather than private seller.’

“When analysed it was noted they were worded in a strikingly similar manner, and contained similar grammatical errors,” the barrister said.

Ms Rutter told the judge of members of the public who were looking for family pets and were assured that was what they were buying.

She added that Hancock even told one couple he and his family were ‘heartbroken they had to give the puppy up.’

The offences dated between June 2016 and March 2017 but Ms Rutter told the court that the operation was running before then.

She described it as a “conveyor belt of puppies, in poor conditions”.

Hancock admitted placing 60 advertisements between July 2016 and March 2017 which implied the pups he was selling were from a family home.

He also admitted withdrawing £23,134.56 of ‘criminal property’ from his bank on March 29 2017 when authorities executed a search warrant at his address and he became aware they were there.

Recorder Ben Browne QC told the defendant the puppies were: “A very different proposition from what you advertised.”

“In each case the set up was to make it look like it was, but it was blatantly untrue.”

Sentencing:
Nine months in jail. £1,800 in fines.

GloucestershireLive
BBC News

Cosham, Portsmouth: John Ware

#TheList John Ware, born c. 1977, of 1XX Blakemere Crescent, Portsmouth PO6 3SH – caught breeding dogs without a licence

John Ware from Portsmouth admitted illegally breeding dogs
John Ware from Portsmouth admitted illegally breeding dogs

John Ware who has links to the travelling community, pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after the case was brought forward by Winchester City Council.

The court heard the council’s environmental protection team investigated after being notified by Havant Borough Council of puppies being bred in the village of Denmead, Hampshire.

Officers obtained a search warrant and when they inspected Ware’s property of Mill Farm, on Widley Walk in Waterlooville, they found a large number of dogs and four litters of puppies in outhouses.

Further evidence revealed at least three other litters had been bred by Ware or born to dogs owned by his relatives and kept at an address in Denmead.

Under current legislation it is an offence for anyone who keeps a breeding establishment for dogs to allow female dogs to give birth to five or more litters within a year.

Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for environmental health and licensing at Winchester City Council, said: ‘We take breeding dogs without a licence seriously and I am pleased to see the council’s legal team achieve another successful prosecution.

‘If we are presented with clear evidence of wrong-doing we as a council will not shy away from taking matters before the courts.’

Sentencing:
Ware was disqualified from obtaining a dog breeding licence for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £4,375. 

The News

Scholar Green, Cheshire: Jamie Parvizi

#TheList illegal puppy farmer Jamie Parvizi (aka Jamie Finnegan), born 05/06/1979 of 13 Stone Chair Lane, Scholar Green ST7 3JJ – sold dying dogs to unsuspecting families

Illegal puppy farmer and fraudster Jamie Parvizi aka Jamie Finnegan sold sick and dying dogs to unsuspecting buyers for hundreds of pounds
Illegal puppy farmer and fraudster Jamie Parvizi aka Jamie Finnegan sold sick and dying dogs to unsuspecting buyers for hundreds of pounds

Parvizi, who together with partner Hayley Potts, traded under the name ‘Tinypom’, pretended he was selling healthy pure bred Pomeranians when families inquired about dogs.

But the pets – which he kept locked in the downstairs toilet – would fall ill shortly afterwards, forcing buyers to shell out thousands in vets’ bills simply to keep the animals alive.

One victim told the court how she bought a £750 puppy for her six-year-old twin daughters.

She stumped up more than £5,000 in vet fees to try to save the animal which died after being diagnosed with parvovirus.

Parviz admitted 13 charges of fraud over a two-year period. He also admitted seven charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and one of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure animals were properly cared for.

Sentencing him at Stoke Crown Court, Judge Simon Berkson said it had been a ‘sophisticated fraud’.

‘You were misleading the public as to the health and welfare of the pups you were selling,’ he said. ‘Your job was to make sure the pups were sold and get some money.

‘The victims lost money and their pet. The animals suffered.

‘The fraud was sophisticated. There was significant planning. It went on over a sustained period. There was a large number of victims.’

The court was told how someone ‘higher up the chain’ in the scam placed adverts in newspapers and online to attract buyers, who then contacted Parvizi.

Prosecutor Hazel Stevens said: ‘He presented them with paperwork and he made them believe they were bred by him.

‘Nobody knows the origin and type of these dogs. There is no paperwork to be sure where they came from.’

Parvizi's now ex wife Hayley Pott, who has a conviction for benefit fraud,  allegedly had an integral role in the business but faced no charges
Parvizi’s now ex wife Hayley Potts, who has a conviction for benefit fraud, was given a caution and a 10-year ban for her part in illegal puppy trading

Ms Stevens added that ten puppies were removed from Parvizi’s home when the police and RSPCA executed a warrant.

They have since been cared for by the RSPCA, although one has died.

Isobel Thomas, defending, said Parvizi works at Tesco and that he had racked up £27,000 of debts. He and his wife had also lost their dogs.

RSPCA Acting Chief Inspector Jayne Bashford said they were alerted to the scam after receiving a ‘flurry’ of calls from upset customers.

‘From our early enquiries we established that lots of money was exchanging hands and people who were unknowingly buying sick dogs were stuck with huge vet bills,’ she said.

‘The investigation led us to Parvizi’s property in Scholar Green and when we went in with police we rescued ten Pomeranians from the address.

‘We found two adults – a male and a female – shut in a downstairs toilet and a number of puppies were being kept in the house. Some were being kept in purpose-built pods in the garden and some smaller, young pups were inside.

‘One of the puppies was collapsed and was severely lethargic, and some of the others were in poor condition with discharge from the eyes and nose.’

She added: ‘The sentence reflects the severity and level of cruelty. We hope it sends out a strong message.

‘Puppy farming is a trade which is rife across the UK and one the RSPCA is working very hard to combat.’

Sentencing: jailed for 33 months and banned from keeping animals for life.

Daily Mail
Dog Magazine

Newmains, Wishaw, North Lanarkshire: Robert Brownlie

#TheList puppy trafficker Robert Brownlie, born 27/01/1977, of 47 Woodside Crescent, Newmains, Wishaw ML2 0NA

Notorious puppy trader Robert Brownlie from Newmains, North Lanarkshire

Brownlie – a known associate of notorious Irish puppy farmer Raymond Cullivan – pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide protection from disease, namely canine parvo virus, to two cockapoo puppies, as well as failing to provide a cockapoo puppy with veterinary treatment contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

Brownlie also pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of a dog and seven puppies in his care.

Furthermore Brownlie pleaded guilty to offering for sale animals as pets, namely cockapoo pups, without the relevant license, contrary to the Pet Animals Act 1951.

An undercover inspector said: “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the case especially with regards to lifetime disqualification order.

Notorious puppy trader Robert Brownlie from Newmains, North Lanarkshire

“This sentence sends out a strong message to anyone who is involved in the puppy trade that the courts are taking these activities seriously.

“It is rare that lifelong disqualifications are handed out. This prosecution was brought about as part of Operation Delphin an on-going Operation to combat the illegal puppy trade.

“The Special Investigations Unit of the SSPCA is working alongside partner organizations to tackle this multi-million pound industry including ISPCA, USPCA, DSPCA, RSPCA, HMRC Trading Standards, Stenaline, Police Scotland Port unit and APHA.”

“The pups involved in this case, including Pomeranians and cockapoos, would have undoubtedly have been bred in a puppy farm in Southern Ireland, as a result they will have been reared in very poor conditions will little or no socialisation and due to the stress of their upbringing and the transportation and changes in environment, their immune system is very low.

“Once these pups reach their new owner via the dealers they often develop diseases such as Parvo Virus and giardia and with specific regard to this case this can result in extremely high vet bills.

“Often these pups will die from these diseases. This is extremely distressing for the new owners.”

“Trafficked pups often look fine when they are purchased, but problems will begin to show at a later stage by which time money has exchanged hands and the selling agent is long gone.

“If you have purchased a puppy that shows any signs of illness or distress take it to the vet immediately.

“We are pleased that Brownlie has been dealt with by the court and that this case of puppy trafficking and neglect has been rightly recognised with a lifetime ban.”

Sentence: 240 hours’ unpaid work; £2,880 in fines; banned for life from keeping animals

Daily Record

Update June 2017
In June 2017 Scottish newspaper the Sunday Mail reported that Brownlie was targeted along with others including Lauren Cullivan and Christopher Gorman by HMRC in an operation to crack down on the flow of designer puppies from Ireland to UK ports. It was revealed Brownlie owed £500,000.

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Update March 2020
On 2 March 2020, the Daily Record reported that Brownlie had been caught on camera boasting about the millions of pounds he made from selling farmed puppies.

Brownlie told protesters from Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE) outside Shawfield greyhound racing track he made a £20million fortune selling pomeranian and cockapoo puppies – all without a licence.

Notorious puppy trader Robert Brownlie from Newmains, North Lanarkshire

A member of SAGE said: “Brownlie was walking into the stadium with a group of pals when he spotted us and came over.

“He spelled out his name and then said he’d made millions from puppy farming while us ‘saddos’ were standing out there. When I got home, I looked his name up on the internet and was disgusted by what I read.”

The SAGE member added: “We have cameras on our banners because of the abuse we get. Brownlie was boasting and goading us. It’s rare that lifelong bans on keeping dogs are handed out but I’m not surprised he got one.”