Illegal dog breeder pays price for misleading customers
An illegal dog breeder has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay over £200,000 after selling sick puppies with false pedigree and veterinary papers.
Dylan Huw Thomas, of New Inn, Llandeilo, was caught running a fraudulent dog breeding business by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Trading Standards team, who carried out a lengthy investigation over a number of years to bring him to justice.
Thomas, 59, deliberately mis-led his customers, selling puppies across the country – some of which were severely ill and required immediate veterinary treatment, and including one chocolate Labrador who had to be put down.
He claimed to be a registered breeder when he was not, adulterated lineage documents and veterinary cards to cover his tracks, and often hid behind a false identity.
Several concerned customer of Thomas contacted the local authority after becoming concerned at the welfare of puppies they had bought from him, or about the paperwork that came with them.
Customers say he would appear ‘nervous’ or ‘shifty’ and evaded their questions.
Adverts would often state that puppies were raised at home amongst family and children, when in fact it has been difficult to trace exactly where the puppies have come from.
He would travel to his customers with the puppies saying he happened to be in their area, and if asked where the puppy’s mother was would say she was ‘under the weather’.
Following the Trading Standards investigation, and in the face of overwhelming evidence, Thomas pleaded guilty to 14 separate offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.
He was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday (December 20, 2018) where His Honour Judge Geraint Walters handed him a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay £215,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Passing the sentence, he told Thomas: “You went into this business with your eyes open when farming was difficult. Easy money - you were deceiving people you were dealing with.”
Cllr Philip Hughes, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Public Protection, praised the Trading Standards team for their thorough investigation which helped bring Thomas to justice, and said he hoped this case would act as a deterrent to other illegal breeders.
“Dylan Huw Thomas deliberately mis-led his customers and made a lot of money through selling puppies without proper welfare checks and documentation,” he said.
“This is a serious crime with serious consequences, and we’re glad we were able to bring him to court and see this sentence handed down.”
He added: “This should be a lesson to anyone who breeds dogs – breeding and selling without proper licensing, documentation and regard for the welfare and wellbeing of puppies and their mothers will not be tolerated.”
The council has urged people to ensure they carry out proper checks before purchasing a puppy advertised for sale to avoid funding the illegal dog breeding trade.
They advise that people should see mum and puppy together at the place of breeding, documents should be thoroughly checked, and enquiries should also be made with veterinary practices and local authorities.