October 20 2014 Latest news:
Friday, August 1, 2014
A Norfolk dog breeder who duped unsuspecting pet owners out of more than £171,000 by claiming puppies she sold were Kennel Club registered when in fact they were not, has been jailed for six months.
Lisa Walsh, 47, from Mill Road, Barnham Broom, appeared for sentencing at Norwich Crown Court today, after earlier pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.
Afterwards, Gary Young, principal trading standards officer with Norfolk County Council, said he was “very pleased” with the result.
Several victims of Walsh’s scam attended the sentencing, including Sam Brady, who bought a dog from Walsh. The dog now has hip dysplasia and has cost her thousands of pounds in vet bills.
She said: “We were expecting her to get a suspended sentence, so we are very pleased, although six months is not enough.”
Walsh was also handed a Crasbo, a criminal anti-social behaviour order, which excludes her from selling or breeding dogs for five years.
Jude Durr, for Walsh, said in mitigation that she had not been involved in the scam from the start, and was a single parent with a child with special needs.
Walsh had operated a dog breeding business from a variety of addresses, in Norfolk, including a rental property Greenacres Farm, Tasburgh, as well as in Cheshire.
Norfolk trading standards officers diligently went through receipt books seized on her arrest, which set out details of cash conned from unsuspecting buyers. She would charge on average around £500 a time for the puppies.
Walsh also falsified paperwork to give the impression the puppies had been inoculated prior to sale, against deadly diseases such as parvovirus, when in fact they had not.
David Wilson, prosecuting on behalf of trading standards, said pet owners conned by Walsh said they would not have paid the price she was asking or have contacted her about buying a puppy in the first place if they had known the true situation.
Walsh had denied participating in a fraudulent business between September 2009 and October 2012, but changed her plea to guilty on the third day of what was to be a four-week trial, at Norwich Crown Court in May.
The court had been told her plea was entered on the basis that it was not a fraudulent business from the outset, but became so after the death of her husband in 2009, when she moved to Norfolk.