A callous dog breeder has been banned from owning animals for life after keeping 38 dogs and 18 cats in filthy makeshift pens in her back garden and crates inside the house.
Janet Oxlade, 67, pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences following an RSPCA raid at her home in Bexleyheath, Kent.
In addition to the ban she was given a 20 week suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay costs of £2,000 at Bexley Magistrates Court.
An independent vet who joined officers on the raid said it was some of the worst conditions he’d ever seen and compared the matted filth in the animal’s coats to “armour-plating”.
RSPCA Inspector Cliff Harrison filmed around two hours of footage as evidence. In the video he says: “There’s filth and mud everywhere and the dogs couldn’t get out of the dirt at all. It’s absolutely disgusting.
“The animals are smothered in faeces. They just don’t know where to go.
“It’s utterly disgraceful to keep animals in these conditions.”
In sentencing Oxlade, Magistrate Tim Fisher said the suffering she had caused the animals was "at the highest level and went on for sustained period of time.
"This was for no other reason than so you could make money. You have come very close to going straight to prison."
The RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit joined Metropolitan Police to execute a warrant at the Bexleyheath property in January after calls from concerned members of the public who had bought puppies from the address in the run-up to Christmas.
“We’d had a number of complaints over recent years about this address but never had enough evidence to act on,” said RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport.
“In 2017, local inspectors dealt with a handful of calls and attended the property but Ms Oxlade wouldn’t let us in.
“People became suspicious of her as they were never allowed outside of the living room of the home – which was kept in pristine condition – and couldn’t see the conditions the animals were being kept in.
“Between the end of November and a few days before Christmas we had six further complaints from the public relating to Basset hounds, dachshunds and a boxer. Sadly, one of the dachshunds died of parvovirus on Christmas Day.”
Above and below: two of the rescued dogs
Many of the animals taken into care by the RSPCA were in a dreadful state.
One Newfoundland was found with seriously deformed legs and couldn’t walk. A dachshund died of the usually fatal parvovirus infection on Christmas Day. Others suffered from severe dental disease, some with docked tails and many had eye infections and ears clogged with built-up hair and wax.
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Inspector Lamport added: “These dogs were living amongst absolute chaos, there was filth and mud everywhere, and many of the animals had no access to water.
“Away from all of this mayhem, the living room was kept in absolutely pristine condition. We suspect this is the room in which members of the public were invited to meet their new puppy in order to convince them that the dogs were raised in high-quality conditions.
“The truth of what lay beyond that living room door, was far from the image they painted to the public.”
A co-defendant who pleaded not guilty is due to stand trial in November.
The Mirror’s Lucy’s Law campaign is fighting to end the cruelty of puppy farming.
Most commercial puppy farmers hide behind closed doors, selling their puppies through pet shops and online traders.
Lucy’s Law will ban these sales by third party dealers, meaning that breeders will have to allow potential buyers onto their premises.
As Janet Oxlade has found out to her cost, that greatly increases the chances of members of the public blowing the whistle if they spot animals being kept in horrendous conditions.
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