Stoke & Staffordshire

'Puppy farm' breeder Esther Titterton jailed for fraud

Litter of cockapoo puppies Image copyright Trading Standards
Image caption A litter of cockapoo puppies was among the 39 animals taken from Titterton's home

A woman who illegally bred and sold puppies using fake Kennel Club paperwork has been jailed.

Up to 39 puppies, many with health problems, were seized from Esther Titterton's home in Stafford.

Trading Standards officers also found false vaccination certificates, which along with the Kennel Club papers were used to dupe customers.

The 26-year-old admitted 13 charges of fraud and was jailed for 18 months. All the puppies have since been re-homed.

She was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday having previously pleading guilty to 11 charges of dishonestly making false representation to make gain for herself and two others relating to an item used in the committing of fraud and her business being used to commit fraud.

Staffordshire County Council's Trading Standards team said it worked with the Animal, Plant and Health Agency, police and the RSPCA to investigate Ms Titterton after a complaint about her business activities in June 2017.

Ms Titterton had been operating from her home, a farm in Milwich, and checks revealed it was not licensed to sell pets or breed dogs. The owner of the farm was not involved with the investigation.

Most of the puppies were cockapoos and health problems with dogs from so-called puppy farms is a common occurrence, trading standards said.

Leader of Staffordshire County Council Philip Atkins urged anyone with suspicions when buying a puppy to contact authorities.

"Demand for fashionable breeds of puppies is always high, so it can be a very lucrative business," he said.

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