Staffordshire Police and RSPCA continue fight against 'cruel' puppy sales as five raids carried out
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Staffordshire Police continued its fight against the “unlawful” and “cruel” sale of seriously poorly puppies across the county in conjunction with the RSPCA this morning (Saturday 30 January) by raiding five addresses believed to be involved.
Four addresses in Stoke-on-Trent and one in Newcastle-under-Lyme were targeted by officers in a joint operation that comes on the back of recent appeals to the public to please not “fuel illegal sales” by using these sellers.
Five people were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation under Section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006 and animal cruelty under Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 after raids on properties in Festival Close, Cobridge; Norris Road, Tunstall; Goldenhill Road, Fenton; and Finstock Avenue, Blurton; and Keele Road in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
They are two females aged 42 and 22 and three males aged 42, 27 and 24 – all from the Stoke-on-Trent area - and will be released under investigation while enquiries continue.
Detective Sergeant Laura Agu, of Staffordshire Police, who planned the operation, said: “This morning, Staffordshire Police have carried out warrants at five addresses - four in Stoke-on-Trent and one in Newcastle-under-Lyme - where five people have been arrested for offences under the Animal Welfare Act and Fraud Act.
“This has been a joint effort between Staffordshire Police and the RSPCA. The properties have been searched and numerous items seized while the investigation into the cruel and unlawful sale and breeding of puppies and fraud takes place.
“Items seized include a large amount of cash and various items to do with the keeping of puppies at the properties. Sadly, no puppies were rescued on this occasion.
“Staffordshire Police and the RSPCA wish to thank the large number of members of the public who came forward to report and raise the issue to our attention so we can undertake proactive work to disrupt and prevent this type of criminality.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Warrants were carried out by the RSPCA and Staffordshire Police at five addresses on Saturday, January 30 in the Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle under Lyme areas.
“We are unable to comment further while enquiries continue. No photos or video will be released while enquiries are ongoing.”
Staffordshire Police is continuing to investigate reports of ‘puppy farms’ and illicit trading of pets in the county - with officers reaffirming prospective owners can be heading for heartache if their new addition is suffering from serious health conditions.
Officers wish to remind residents considering getting a puppy to stick with reputable breeders or use established rescue centres.
Responsible breeders will be happy to do the following things:
- Spend time chatting to you and arrange for you to meet the puppies - and their mother - in the place the litter was born and raised;
- Allow you to have more than one meeting with the puppies to ensure you and the puppy are compatible;
- Answer any of your questions and likely to ask you several to make sure the puppies are going to a good home;
- Gladly show you their local authority license if they are breeding/selling pets as a business or to make a profit;
- Provide genuine paperwork, which may include - certificates for vaccinations, microchipping, worming, and results of any health tests;
- Agree to completing and signing a ‘Puppy Contract’ – this can be further researched on the RSPCA website or puppycontract.org.uk.
It is vital to note that a responsible breeder won’t do the following:
- Rush you in to parting with any money in exchange for a puppy;
- Make excuses to stop you seeing the puppy’s mother by claiming she’s at the vets, asleep, or out walking. An absence of the mother generally indicates the puppies weren’t bred there;
- Arrange to deliver the puppy to you at a random location;
- Claim signs of health issues are normal such as snoring.
DS Agu added: “Always remember, if something doesn’t feel right it usually isn’t.”