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Video: Upminster ‘animal lover’ who sold sick puppies spared jail

PUBLISHED: 17:09 01 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:10 01 February 2017

Stricter rules on dog-breeding were announced after a Barking and Dagenham pair were involved in selling puppies bred in these conditions Picture: RSPCA

Stricter rules on dog-breeding were announced after a Barking and Dagenham pair were involved in selling puppies bred in these conditions Picture: RSPCA

Archant

A man sold sick Cockapoos for £450 each to the public as part of a network that led to the deaths of three puppies.

Basildon Crown Court heard how Tony Hammond, 35, sold the dogs at his home in Brunswick Court, Upminster, as part a “sophisticated” network involving up to 731 animals.

He pleaded guilty to fraud by misrepresentation after selling the puppies to buyers who thought they were bred at his home.

After receiving a £50 share for each sale he made, Hammond was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work.

Defence lawyer Richard Keogh claimed his client was an “animal lover” who was unaware the dogs were sick after being bred in cramped conditions.

He said Hammond “didn’t realise the puppies were ill at all”, adding: “He bitterly regrets becoming involved in this.”

Hammond was given full credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity, with his “hard work ethic” and previous good character also securing a lesser sentence than his three co-conspirators.

Vicky Montgomery, 54, of Melford Avenue, Barking and her 33-year-old daughter Roxanne Montgomery of Grafton Road, Dagenham, also admitted roles in the puppy-selling ring.

Roxanne received nine months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

Her mum was sentenced in her absence to 14 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years as the court heard she was struggling with “massive” domestic difficulties, including being a full-time carer for her disabled son, her husband dying in August last year and the fact she only has one lung.

Each pleaded to guilty to one count of fraud by misrepresentation after selling sick puppies to customers while advertising them as home-bred and healthy – despite two being put to sleep shortly after purchase and another dying.

The dogs were bred at the address of ringleader Teresa Wade, 57, who lives in Ship Lane, Aveley.

“This is not an animal welfare case but various witnesses described difficulties and problems they had with the puppies,” he said. “Three died or were put to sleep within a very short period of purchase.

“I’m of the view this conspiracy was a sophisticated enterprise.”

Wade, who also pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by misrepresentation, was given 21 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and was placed under curfew by an electronic tag between the hours of 8pm and 7am for three months. The court heard how she was assaulted while on trial in response to the case’s coverage in the press. Judge Owen-Jones acknowledged her struggle with depression resulting from a car accident, but condemned her lack of regret, saying she “showed little remorse but was able to understand the impact on various victims and the community”.

Each defendant was also ordered to pay £500 in court costs.

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