Three people have been arrested after drugs and a stun gun device were seized as part of an investigation into the alleged illegal breeding and sale of puppies in west Kent.
The suspects were detained following an operation involving Kent Police as well as partner agencies including Kent Trading Standards, the RSPCA and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.
Officers have been investigating recent reports concerning illegal puppy farming and the sale of dogs in Kent and areas outside the county, which are often advertised online.
The investigation is also linked to possible thefts of adult dogs.
During the morning of Wednesday 13 January 2021, search warrants were executed at two addresses in Hadlow and a further location in Yalding.
At the Yalding address, ten puppies without a mother were located and checked by a vet.
A further 20 dogs were inspected at this location by the RSPCA with a scanner, to check if any had been reported missing.
Documents and phones relating to the sale of puppies were also seized during the warrants and enquiries are ongoing.
At one of the addresses in Hadlow officers recovered a stun gun device, as well as a quantity of amphetamine, leading to two arrests.
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A third person was also arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and public order offences.
A 33-year-old woman from Hadlow was later charged with possessing amphetamine and possessing a weapon for the discharge of an electrical incapacitation device. She was bailed to appear at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on 8 February.
Another woman aged 36, also from Hadlow was charged with assaulting a constable in the execution of their duty and a public order offence. She was bailed to attend Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on 19 February.
A 26-year-old man was released without charge.
Websites used for illegal trade
Inspector Lizzie Jones, of the Tonbridge and Malling Community Safety Unit, said: ‘We are aware of concerns around the illegal trade of puppies in west Kent who are often offered for sale on websites. We will be working with our partner agencies to investigate any possible offences in relation to the dogs identified during these search warrants. ‘Those who do trade illegally sometimes sell puppies before they reach the required minimum age of eight weeks, without the necessary vaccinations and with fraudulent paperwork. Sadly, this can result in families receiving new pets who are sometimes seriously ill.’
Anthony Garnett, Head of Licensing for Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, added: ’This joint operation was prompted following a number of reports from the public and several months of intelligence gathering by our team.’ The unlicensed breeding and sale of dogs is a major concern as it runs the risk of animals being poorly cared for and buyers suffering the heartbreak of losing a pet, often incurring thousands of pounds of veterinary bills in the process. ‘We are grateful to Kent Police, the RSPCA and Kent Trading Standards who enabled this operation and for their support with the ongoing investigation.’