Couple dragged to court over illegal puppy farm

Running an unlicensed dog breeding business cost a couple more than £ 450,000 after neglecting dozens of animals.

Karl and Victoria Shelland ran and owned the PosherBulls dog breeding business, which was described in court as a “puppy farm”.

The couple, who ran the business from their home, were unlicensed and neglected their breeding female dogs by forcing them to undergo multiple pregnancies and deliver more than one litter per year, in violation of the law. animal wellbeing.

Karl and Victoria Shellard, 43 and 40, have earned around £ 372,000 from their cruelty, the two repeatedly ignoring instructions to apply for a license from the local council.

The couple’s “farm” was in Bonvilston, Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, Wales Online reports.

Speaking at a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “You ran a puppy farm and did it for money, and you made a lot of Money You could have run an extremely profitable business if you were properly registered, but you are going to pay the price for this madness.

Between 2014 and 2020, the couple bred at least 67 litters, with Caesarean section information showing 43 litters were delivered between 2018 and 2019. The puppies are reportedly priced between £ 1,500 and £ 20,000.

The two accused admitted to having done back-breeding, that is to say that the dogs gave birth to more than one litter in a period of 12 months. A dog named Coco had given birth to six litters in four years while many others were forced to give birth to two litters in less than a year.

Prosecutor Tim Evans told the court that the Shellards, who have three children, are knowingly putting the well-being of the dogs at risk. He said: “This back-to-back breeding would have been a license violation if they had been licensed breeders. This is something even legitimate breeders should never do.

“But, regardless of the lack of a breeder’s license, this is an animal welfare offense as recovery from a Caesarean takes many months and Shellards were artificially inseminating these dogs long before they were allowed to breed. ‘They weren’t healthy enough to have a pregnancy and then C -section again. It was a positive decision to raise the animals that way. “

Investigation by an expert veterinarian concluded that an application for a permit was reportedly rejected and that the couple had attempted to avoid detection through “condominium contracts”, which involve others being paid to house or officially own the dogs.

Their four-bedroom home and two other associated properties were raided in December 2019, which found 60 dogs, a partially completed breeder’s license application form, and a laboratory containing equipment such as a microscope, multipurpose centrifuge, and equipment for storing and collecting semen.

There were also specially equipped kennels, a dog park and a building designed to accommodate dogs with litters.

Mr Evans said the defendants openly advertised PosherBulls through a website and social media, in which they claimed to be “experienced breeders” and “distinguished Bulldog leaders of all stripes.”

He said: “Despite this obvious work to facilitate their dog breeding business, they did not apply for a breeding license until January 2020. It was two weeks after a warrant was executed on the premises. and almost two years after learning that a license was needed. “

When questioned, Karl Shellard admitted that he had been breeding dogs without a license for six years, but said he did not submit the form due to the attempted sale of the family home, which means that he should change his address.

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After the couple formally applied for a breeding license, a veterinary inspection was carried out at their home on February 10 last year but a license was not granted due to poorly managed health issues. inadequate housing and space for dogs, lack of understanding of guidelines and poor isolation facilities for unvaccinated dogs.

Another report concluded that the Shellards had run a business that “maximized puppy production without considering the health and welfare of the dogs.”

They then pleaded guilty to raising dogs without a license between 2017 and 2020 and nine counts of failing to provide for a protected animal for which they were responsible. Investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act found the couple had earned £ 372,531 illegally but had available assets of £ 1,041,714.

Heath Edwards, defending, said Karl Shellard first got involved with bulldogs as a hobby, with his wife later getting involved in the financial and administrative aspects of the business.

Mr Edwards said the company had become “nationally and internationally recognized” for the quality of the dogs they bred, which he described as “in good health and of undoubted pedigree”, but that the couple would “pay a heavy price” not to apply for a License.

Upon sentencing, Judge Wynn Morgan said: “Those with long memories remember the West Wales puppy farm scandals and the sickening tales of dogs being raised by breeding female dogs in appalling conditions The result of these scandals was legislation put in place to monitor and regulate dog breeding.

“This is why you were obliged to register your business so that it could be properly regulated but you chose, despite the fact that you were told, not to do so. The reasons given are totally clear. insufficient because it is the law and whoever wanted to do what you did had to comply with it. “

The couple were fined £ 19,000 each and £ 372,531. They were also ordered to pay court costs of £ 43,775, making a total of £ 453,307. The couple have three months to pay under penalty of 24 months imprisonment by default.

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