A man from Hemel Hempstead has been disqualified from keeping dogs for two years after nine tiny poorly puppies were found in the boot of his car.
Simon McDonagh (date of birth 26.05.85) of Three Cherry Trees Traveller Site, appeared at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday 12 March) for sentencing.
He had previously pleaded guilty to not providing a suitable environment for nine puppies by confining them in the boot of his car, and was found guilty of not seeking veterinary care for their poor condition, health and parasite infestation. As well as the ban, McDonagh was given a 12 week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, 180 hours unpaid work and made to pay costs of £4,609.84 and £80 victim surcharge.
The RSPCA was contacted in July 2014 after the dogs, including two Springer spaniels, a French bulldog, five pug-crosses, and a chihuahua, were found in McDonagh’s car during a routine police inspection. All were between six and eight weeks-old, except Hamish the Chihuahua who was between ten and 12 weeks-old.
They were found in a terrible state of health - very thin and suffering from various viruses. They had been left loose and unsecured in the boot, meaning they would have been thrown about as it moved.
The court also heard that between October 2013 and June 2014 McDonagh took more than 119 puppies to a vet for first vaccinations and it is believed that they were being traded rather than kept as pets. Five mobile phones were also seized by the police, with evidence of texts about the sale of puppies on them.
RSPCA inspector Rachel Smith said: “These tiny puppies were found loose and insecure in this dark, dirty boot of a car in a very precarious state of health - it was absolutely heartbreaking.
“They would have been thrown about as the car moved - which would have been very distressing, as well as dangerous and probably painful.
“They had just been left to suffer from various untreated viruses. They were taken straight to a vet and into our care, but four of them very sadly had be put to sleep at a later date because they were so unwell. The good news is five survived and are now doing well.
“The RSPCA is pleased that the high level of suffering caused to such young puppies was recognised in this case, and we are very grateful to the police in this case for their promptness in recognising the suffering of the puppies and contacting us so quickly. They likely saved some of their lives.”
Hamish the chihuahua was signed over to the RSPCA and has already been rehomed, and we hope to soon be able to find new homes for the remaining four - Marvin and Trevor, both pug crosses, and Ewan and Lego, both Springer spaniels.
Inspector Smith added: “It was very clear that these puppies were being traded, and not kept as pets. None of their needs, environmental or emotional, were being met and they were being treated as commodities rather than living beings.
“Sadly, this case is typical of the issues we are facing with unlicensed puppy breeders. We urge anyone looking to buy a puppy to find out if the breeder is licenced, and if not walk away and contact us or the local authorities. Better still, why not rehome one of the wonderful dogs in our, or other charities’, care.”
The RSPCA is now calling on MPs in England to develop legislation that tackles the root causes of the problem by cutting off the illegal trade and ensuring increased accountability and monitoring of anyone who breeds puppies. please find more information at www.rspca.org.uk/puppytrade
The puppies are not available for rehoming yet, but hopefully soon will be. Anyone interested in rehoming the surviving puppies should visit the www.rspca.org.uk/findapet.