Birmingham & Black Country

Woman given suspended sentence over dying puppies

Sean Kerr and Louise St John Poulton Image copyright PA
Image caption Poulton and Kerr have both been sentenced for animal cruelty offences

A woman involved in the breeding and selling of sick and dying puppies has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Louise St John Poulton admitted nine animal cruelty charges after police and the RSPCA raided a puppy farm in Bickenhill, West Midlands in 2015.

An investigation was launched after owners reported buying sick and dying dogs from Poulton and Sean Kerr.

Poulton, 43, now of Highgrove, St Albans, admitted six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs.

She also admitted three offences of failing to meet the needs of a number of dogs, the RSPCA said.

Poulton was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, disqualified from keeping dogs for life and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 3 April.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Puppies were being sold for between £350 and £450 each, the RSPCA said

In February, Kerr, from Bickenhill, Solihull, was convicted of nine animal cruelty charges and jailed for six months.

The RSPCA launched an investigation into Poulton and Kerr after various complaints and the farm was raided on 22 December 2015.

RSPCA inspector Herchy Boal said: "We were contacted by people who had bought schnauzers, Westies and pugs from a farm in Coventry Road, Bickenhill.

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Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Some puppies were kept in complete darkness, the court heard

"Many of them had fallen ill within just a few hours and, tragically, some of them died within just a few days."

A total of 37 puppies were seized, as well as one dead dog found in a plastic bag in a van parked at the farm.

The dogs included a pregnant shih tzu, which was discovered cowering in a downstairs toilet, and a pregnant pug.

The RSPCA said 27 puppies were later born in its care. Most of the dogs rescued from the farm were fostered.

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