Woman who ran illegal puppy farm in Gloucestershire banned from keeping dogs


A woman who ran an illegal puppy farm in Gloucestershire has been handed a suspended prison sentence and a lifetime ban on keeping dogs. Margaret Davies, aged 74, had 33 dogs on her farm in Blakeney when council and police officers visited on 1 July 2021. Upon inspection, dogs were found being kept in unclean pens and cages with no access to water. Davies was sentenced to a 36-week jail term, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay £9,104.11 in court costs after admitting to five animal welfare charges at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday. The court heard that Davies' property was visited by police and Forest of Dean District Council officers following reports of her running an unlicensed puppy farm. They found two sheds divided into pens that had a strong smell of urine and faeces. Many of the dogs had litters of puppies, but had no clean bedding and little natural light. One puppy was seized as it appeared lifeless and Davies was served with an improvement notice, but made little effort to comply with it when inspectors returned 14 days later. All of the dogs were then removed from her property. Two puppies died and the rest were rehomed.

Davies admitted to three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs by failing to seek veterinary treatment for them, and failing to meet the needs of 27 dogs and puppies in her care by failing to provide adequate drinking water, clean bedding, a suitable diet, and protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease. The court also heard that a compensation order of £17,820 imposed last year to cover the cost of kennelling and veterinary treatment for the dogs had still not been paid. Corgis, terriers, and French bulldogs were among the dogs found.

Aled Owen, defending, said Davies had started dog breeding to help the dairy farm's finances. He explained that the venture had initially "thrived," but Davies had struggled when new legislation was introduced. Mr Owen stated that "Davies admits that there were issues that needed to be attended to, but she was juggling so much in her private life that something had to give."

Judge Nicholas Wattam told Davies that the conditions on the farm had caused serious injury to a number of dogs. He added that "this is a case where there was prolonged ill-treatment with the animals in your care, and this continued, despite being given advice from animal welfare officers." The lifetime ban on keeping dogs for Davies is aimed at preventing any such occurrences in the future and ensuring that animals are protected from such harmful treatment.