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The evil of puppy farming

Lancashire breeder and dealer who sold sick puppies disqualified from keeping animals for five years
A Lancashire puppy farmer - who bred and sold hundreds of puppies, making tens of thousands of pounds - has been handed a suspended sentence and disqualified from keeping animals for a string of animal welfare offences.

Robert Fishwick (DoB: 23/10/72) of Burton Lane, Broughton, appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court on Friday (13 October) for sentencing having pleaded guilty to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at the same court on Wednesday (11 October).

He was today sentenced to a 17-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and a 12-month supervision order. He was also disqualified from keeping animals for five years.

The RSPCA launched an investigation into the puppy dealer after a number of complaints from his customers reporting sick puppies.

RSPCA inspector Carl Larsson, who led the investigation, said: “We had a number of complaints about this individual and address in 2016 and began gathering evidence.

“Then, when more complaints came through in March, we were able to go to police and request a warrant.”

RSPCA officers joined Lancashire Police as they executed a warrant at the address in Broughton, Preston, on 30 March. While there were no puppies present on the day, they found 13 adult dogs being kept in unsuitable conditions.

“There weren’t any puppies there on the day we went in but we found 13 dogs of different ages and genders being kept at the site. We suspect these are the dogs he used for breeding,” inspector Larsson added.

“All the dogs were being kept in filthy, damp conditions - some in makeshift, muddy outside runs and others in cold, concrete pens inside outbuildings.

“Several of the dogs were considerably underweight with their ribs clearly visible while others had serious health problems such as skin conditions and ear infections.

“We also found paperwork at the property which showed the scale of Mr Fishwick’s puppy-selling operation. Just one receipt book which was seized detailed sales covering a period of four months and totalling more than £50,000 meaning he was making around £12,000 a month from selling dogs.”

Receipts also showed he was selling puppies for an average of £500 each - with some breeds selling for up to £900.

All 13 dogs - a mixture of breeds including French bulldogs, German shepherds and Rottweilers - were seized by police, removed from the address and placed into RSPCA care. The dogs were all then signed over.

Sadly, two French bulldogs and one German shepherd had to be put to sleep on veterinary advice as they had chronic health problems which were not responding to treatment. The other dogs were all treated for health problems and assessed before being put up for rehoming.

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