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Sold a pup


WHEN KERRY Shellard paid £400 for a ‘Chinese Crested Hairless’ puppy, it soon became apparent that she’d been sold a pup in every sense of the word by the unscrupulous breeders, who claimed the dog to be from pedigree, show winning lines. Unfortunately for the breeders, Kerry Shellard is no-one’s fool and her thorough investigations uncovered a web of deceit which included prima face evidence of KC pedigrees being falsified and possible links to Welsh Puppy Farms.

Kerry passed a comprehensive bundle of documentation to OUR DOGS, including a large number of e-mails between her and the breeder, veterinary assessments of the sickly puppy, County Court proceedings and correspondence between Kerry, the Kennel Club and the RSPCA. OUR DOGS is satisfied that Kerry Shellard was deliberately misled and obstructed in her quest for the truth about her puppy’s origins by the breeders. However, as the case was settled out of court, we have withheld the breeders’ names and instead refer to them as Mr X and Mrs Y. Copies of the documentation have already been lodged with the Kennel Club, pending any action they may wish to take against the breeders for falsifying the pedigrees relating to the puppy.

The story that emerges portrays clearly the lengths that some unscrupulous breeders will go to make a sale. One can only wonder how many other purchasers have been deceived in the way Kerry Shellard was – and how the reputation of responsible, caring dog breeders has once again been tarnished by those who simply do not care.


In March 2004, Kerry Shellard purchased what was described by breeders Mr X and Mrs Y as ‘A stunning, very friendly, fully vaccinated 16 week-old Chinese Crested Hairless puppy.’ Kerry paid £400 for the dog that she christened ‘Gracie’. The breeders told her that the pup’s mother – whom we name ‘Tulip’ as we have decided to withhold its real name - had just won at Crufts. However, she became a little suspicious when the breeders stated that they did not give ‘Kennel Club registration’.

Kerry was horrified when she discovered that Gracie was in such poor condition and ill health. "She was filthy, covered in stale urine and needed to be bathed," says Kerry.
"It became apparent that she was very poorly and I had to take her to my vet. When he was examining her, he asked me what he exact date of birth was, as he believed her to be older than 16 weeks.”

Making enquiries with the breeders, Kerry was told that they had made a mistake with Gracie’s date of birth and stated that she was 21 weeks old instead of 16, as her date of birth was 28th October 2003. However, Kerry’s vet stated that Gracie was at least seven months old, as her canine teeth were fully descended – they typically break through at six months of age and take a month to fully form.

Gracie was diagnosed with an ulcerated eye, due to an old, untreated injury. This had led to an infection in both eyes, coupled with a temperature of 103, a sore throat and generally poor condition. Her ears were so overgrown and matted that the vet could not see the dog’s ear canals.


"She received 34 days of treatment and still hasn’t been fully discharged from my vet’s care," Kerry told OUR DOGS. “My vet had serious doubts that Gracie is a true pedigree and advised me to request the pedigree papers from the breeders. He also advised me to contact the Kennel Club and ask the date of the last litter born to Gracie’s mother, Tulip."

Kerry was shocked when the KC informed her that the one and only litter born to ‘Tulip’ was born on December 30th 2003, which would make it impossible for Tulip to be Gracie’s mother. When told that the breeders had declined to provide pedigree papers, the KC told Kerry that the breeder should have given her the pedigree papers irrespective of whether she had registered Gracie or not. Kerry took this information to the breeders who sent her a typed ‘pedigree’ that omitted any reference to Gracie being the pup in question, but still insisting that Tulip was her mother.

"My vet said that the so-called pedigree was a worthless scrap of paper," says Kerry. "I e-mailed Mrs Y and told her this and said that I thought it was only fair she pay my veterinary fees. Her reply was that I should return Gracie to her, which I refused to do. When I pointed out the discrepancy with her birth date, she simply ignored it and would not reply. She just simply kept repeating, ad infinitum, that they did not provide KC registration, which I clearly stated was NOT what I was asking about. In fact, when I persisted, Mr X and Mrs Y simply refused to answer any questions and advised me that I was being abusive and blocked my e-mail address!"

Kerry had continued to press for a promised receipt and sales agreement from Mrs Y, and although this was promised in one of Mrs Y’s e-mails, to date, this has not been received.

"At this point I’d had enough," Kerry told OUR DOGS. "I claimed the costs of Gracie’s veterinary treatment, including her vaccination, because my vet and I could not trust the date given on her vaccination card. Due to the discrepancy with the birth dates, it simply cannot have been her vaccination certificate. I also claimed £390 of her £400 purchase price, as she was clearly a mongrel or crossbreed at best, and certainly not worth £400. That said, I would not and will not part with her. Gracie has numerous problems, and despite the breeders’ stated ‘concern’ for her, it is clear that she was kept in dirty conditions with injuries untreated.


“In my opinion she has been emotionally scarred by being caged, has had little human contact and lack of socialisation and has been roughly treated and shouted at. She is a very nervous little dog who will hide at the first opportunity and cowers from everyone. She is, however, making good progress now that I am giving her the love, patience, attention and care she needs, and she is a much loved pet.

"I have owned dogs all my life and fostered dogs for a local rescue group, so I am familiar with dogs that have been ill-treated – Gracie is certainly the most nervous dog I have ever encountered. Her breeders have caused her a lot of unnecessary stress and worry."

Kerry made a formal claim against the breeders in a County Court for £486.80. The breeders settled out of court in full. Kerry is under no illusions as to why they capitulated so completely. "If it had come to court and a ruling had been made, they would have been publicly exposed for their activities," she says. "As it is, I have passed full details of Gracie’s condition and the breeders’ correspondence with me to both the RSPCA and the KC.

"The RSPCA has not responded to date. The Kennel Club has simply told me that as the litter was not registered with them, there is nothing they can do – despite it being patently clear that the breeders have falsified a pedigree and have lied about Gracie’s date of birth. I shall continue to pursue this point, however."

There is also evidence that the breeders have links to at least one puppy farm in Wales. Kerry’s own investigations have revealed several adverts on the internet and in various trade publications, linking Mr X and Mrs Y with such an establishment, which may go some way to explaining Gracie’s true origins.

Again, this paperwork has been seen by OUR DOGS and remains on file with the other documentation submitted to us by Kerry.

"I’ll never give up on Gracie," concludes Kerry. "She had an awful start in life, but she’s got a good home with me and she will receive all the treatment and care she needs. But how many other Gracies have there been, sold as pedigrees by the unscrupulous? How many other people have been sold crossbreeds as pedigrees? How many other sickly dogs have been passed along?
"How many other people have been ‘sold a pup’?"