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Banned dog breeder accuses WAG of ‘witch hunt’

A PUPPY farmer who was banned by magistrates from selling sick puppies or dogs slammed an anti-puppy farm group for conducting a ‘witch hunt’ against her.

At Kilmarnock Sheriff’s Court on Tuesday 18 March, Liz Baird of Hillbank Kennels near Hurlford, Ayrshire was banned from selling puppies or dogs, which are not fit, healthy and conform to the breed at the time of purchase. The action was brought by East Ayrshire Council’s Trading Standards office.

Baird bitterly attacked those complaining about her business, singling out the Waterside Action Group (WAG) for particular attention. Mrs Baird also complained to the court that she was the subject of a ‘witch hunt’ and that Trading Standards were carrying out a ‘personal vendetta’. Baird told the court: ‘I'm a reputable dealer. There isn't a breeder in the country who hasn't had some pups that are ill or die. If a cow dies in a field nobody has a go at the farmer. It's just a part of the industry I'm in.’

Ken McKie on behalf of WAG said: ‘Hillbank Kennels and the actions of Mrs Baird has been subject of numerous complaints and this case has highlighted this. As for being the victim of a ‘witch hunt’ Mrs Baird needs to look to her own method of conducting her business which the court, rightly so, have insisted that she changes.

‘What has been amazing to our Group is that a person who is allegedly been declared as bankrupt is still trading. How can she offer refunds when things go wrong? However, if WAG is going to be accused of being behind the troubles of any alleged illegal activities concerning the trade of puppy farming we will see this as a compliment.

‘Further to that if anyone is involved in the business of selling sick and dying puppies then they should be worried about our interest. Until this vile trade is ended we will continue to pursue those who would illegally mistreat animals. The great pity about all of this is the length of time it takes for prosecutions to take place.’

Mr McKie added that WAG were also glad that Mrs Baird has chosen to continue her case to trial for other offences, as this would allow the public to judge for themselves as to how she ran her business. ‘We will continue to monitor the situation and where necessary ‘stick our oar in’,’ added Mr McKie.

The Scottish Sunday Mail newspaper said that it had received almost 70 complaints about Baird - dubbed Cruella the Vile - from angry customers who bought sick or dying pups.