John Walsh, convicted puppy farmer, now banned from keeping animals for life
A NOTORIOUS puppy farmer from Brampton, Cumbria has been banned from keeping animals for life and ordered to pay £48,485 costs after losing his appeal against an earlier sentence.
John Walsh, 55, who has previous convictions relating to animals, was found guilty in January this year of animal cruelty and the transportation and abandonment of nine young puppies on May 20, 2004.
Magistrates had heard how Walsh, of Denton Hall Kennels, Low Lane, Brampton, left nine puppies in a parked car at the ferry port of Weymouth, Dorset on a hot summer’s day while he took another six puppies over to Jersey.
Following his conviction on December 15th 2005 for causing unnecessary suffering to nine puppies, Walsh was sentenced at Blandford court on January 11th 2006. He was initially banned from keeping animals for a total of ten years and was ordered to pay the RSPCA court costs. This was Walsh’s third conviction for animal related crime.
As previously reported by OUR DOGS, on the day in question, Walsh had left Weymouth on the 6.00 am 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.
Walsh appealed against his conviction on the grounds that the puppies did not suffer.
However, Judge John Harrow, presiding at Dorchester Crown Court, upheld the conviction and sentence of a 100-hour community rehabilitation order, imposed by Blandford magistrates.
However, in a humiliating and unexpected blow to Walsh - who has arrogantly continued trading in puppies since his conviction - Judge Harrow extended the 10-year ban on keeping dogs to a lifetime ban.
Anti-puppy farm group WAG who have worked tirelessly to curtail Walsh’s activities and convince the authorities to prosecute him were jubilant at the outcome of the appeal. Ken McKie, Secretary of WAG commented: ‘It is long overdue that this man has at last been banned from keeping or managing animals. He has shown over a period of time that he has no interest in animal welfare but only in money.
‘Sadly Walsh is not the exception, but his kind of behaviour is the norm. We would urge all people thinking of buying a puppy to take time and consider that the cute advert from the nice man could be the start of a huge horror story. Many of these puppies have been found to be diseased, yet it is not unusual for these puppies to end up at the homes of young children. Not only is there heartbreak at the suffering but what kind of diseases could have been passed on to the family?
‘Please ask as many awkward questions as possible and if it doesn’t feel right, then walk away.
Don’t put money into the hands of people like Walsh – remember he is a criminal with several convictions!’