Pomeranian-pups “Buyers beware” warns RSPCA

In the first case of its kind for a number of years brought by Ashford Borough Council, a local resident has been successfully prosecuted on a number of counts of illegally breeding dogs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

On 13 March 2024, Edith Nishanthy Nixon from Ashford pleaded guilty to the offences at Folkestone Magistrates Court.

After receiving a complaint from a purchaser of one of the dogs, the council’s Licensing team carried out an investigation and established that Ms Nixon had been responsible for breeding at least 10 litters of Pomeranian pups between 2020 and 2022 without holding an animal activity licence for dog breeding.

In addition Ms Nixon admitted under caution that a number of puppies had died due to a lack of milk, and further demonstrated a lack of basic care or knowledge which could have prevented the suffering and deaths of the pups.

This included failure to act promptly when the pups were first noted to be subdued and lethargic, a lack of understanding of how to tell if pups were dehydrated, and no process in place to monitor the pups healthy growth and food intake through regular weighing.

Ms Nixon was given a Community Order, lasting 12 months whereby she is to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, reduced to 100 hours in acknowledgment that she pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. She was also ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £114 and to pay the council’s costs of £2,701.50. She was ordered to pay at a rate of £50 per month, the first payment to be made within 28 days.

Cllr Liz Wright, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health, said:

“This case sends out a clear message that the council will not tolerate the flouting of licensing laws that regulate this sector.

“The checks, inspections, and monitoring associated with licensing help to ensure that premises are suitable for dog breeding, that the licensee is competent, and that the welfare of the dogs and pups is not compromised through the breeding activity.

“It also acts to give buyers confidence that the pets they purchase come from a reputable breeder, who is subject to routine and unannounced inspection.” 

Speaking after the court case, RSPCA Kent Chief Inspector Nick Wheelhouse said:

“Puppies have become a valuable commodity and, unfortunately, that has attracted people who want to exploit them in order to make profit. Sadly, some breeders do not prioritise the health and welfare of their dogs, and unsuspecting members of the public unknowingly buy puppies who are sick.

“We’d urge anyone who is thinking of getting a dog to consider taking on a rescue instead of buying a puppy. Anyone who is looking for a puppy can use  The Puppy Contract  to help them buy
a happy, healthy dog.”

Would-be buyers can check whether a dog breeder has a licence, and how many stars they were awarded (between one and five) by checking the public register of the district council where the breeder lives. In Ashford borough this can be viewed at https://licensing.ashford.gov.uk/

By Ed

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