Norfolk puppy farm owner banned from dealing in dogs

Squalid conditions Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Some of the dogs were kept in squalid conditions at the family-run farm in Thurlton

A woman has been banned from buying or selling dogs for two years for her involvement in a family-run puppy farm.

Carol Rushmer, 59, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs she kept at her farm in Norfolk.

Three other family members have already been sentenced for their part in a scam, which netted more than £300,000.

Rushmer, of Home Farm in Thurlton, was also handed a 14-week curfew between 19:00 and 07:00 BST when sentenced at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court.

The puppies, which have since been rehomed, showed signs of worms and had fur matted with excrement and burns on their skin, magistrates were told.

The court was told Rushmer's late husband Michael had started a puppy farm to clear debts and later involved his daughter Zoe Rushmer, her partner Jacob Murphy and later his son, also called Michael Rushmer.

She admitted having provided premises for the puppy farm in Thurlton, though her lawyer said she had been coerced into it and was subjected to violence.

'Lucky to be alive'

RSPCA inspector Amy Pellegrini, who worked on the case for four years, said some puppies were "emaciated".

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The RSPCA removed 74 dogs including several pregnant bitches, one of whom had 93 puppies

"Being that age, they were very lucky to be alive in those conditions," she said, speaking outside court.

"That's not something that we see every day. To see something like that is very upsetting."

Jacob Murphy, Michael Rushmer and Zoe Rushmer were sentenced in June for having sold ill or dying dogs they pretended had come from a family environment.

They kept some of the 74 animals in cages, dark sheds and a caravan in temperatures up to 30C (86F), Norwich Crown Court was told.

Murphy and Michael Rushmer, both 27, were each jailed for 42 months, while Zoe Rushmer, 26, was given a two-year suspended jail sentence. They were all banned from keeping animals for life.

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