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Puppy dealer gets ten year ban

A NOTORIOUS puppy dealer has been banned from keeping animals for ten years, marking a significant victory in the ongoing campaign to stop this cruel trade.

Following his conviction on December 15th 2005 for causing unnecessary suffering to nine puppies, John Walsh from Brampton in Cumbria was sentenced at Blandford court on January 11th. He has been banned from keeping animals for a total of ten years and was ordered to pay the RSPCA court costs of £32,000. This was Walsh’s third conviction for animal related crime.
Dog dealer Walsh was previously convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the puppies that he had left for several hours on a very hot day last year in a car park in Weymouth, Dorset, while he delivered two crates of puppies to Jersey in the Channel Islands. Walsh had left Weymouth on the 6am ferry as a foot passenger, and had planned to return to Weymouth on the 2.40pm ferry having left the puppies for a total of eight and half hours.

The Jersey SPCA had become aware of contact between a local man and Walsh, thanks to the concerns raised by Rose Loane, a local dog lover. The Jersey SPCA officers were waiting at the port to apprehend Walsh. However, as he had handed over the puppies he had with him they were unable to legally detain him.

Following this, the Jersey SPCA with the help of the Jersey port authorities contacted the UK port authorities in Weymouth to let them know that Walsh had left a vehicle there and that there might be puppies locked inside.

Walsh’s vehicle was finally found at 11:30am, five and a half hours later, when Weymouth car park attendant Margaret Harvey was drawn to Walsh’s vehicle by the whimpering of the puppies. The local RSPCA and police came to the car park and released the pups from the vehicle. The RSPCA described the state of the puppies as being "anxious, dehydrated and close to death". The vehicle was described as being "like an oven, and stank of urine and faeces".

Knowing the authorities were waiting for him to return to Weymouth, Walsh avoided the police by hiding in a van, abandoning his vehicle at the Weymouth docks. Walsh made his way back to his home in Brampton, Cumbria, where he was finally tracked down, and local police arrested him four days later.

Although initially disappointed that sentencing was delayed from the court case in December until January 2006, Mr Ken McKie of the anti-puppy farm pressure group WAG told OUR DOGS that he was delighted that a ban has finally been placed on Walsh.

Mr McKie said: "At last justice has been done. We keep thinking on the suffering of animals caused by this man who has now been convicted on three separate occasions of animal related crimes. Whilst we were disappointed that Walsh was able to trade over the festive season, and we have received complaints about these activities, the money he has earned will now be put to good use. We can only hope that this conviction will send out a clear message to puppy farmers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated."

Mr McKie is hoping that the local authorities in Carlisle, Cumbria will now enforce the ban by not renewing Walsh’s licence to have a dog-trading establishment.