Telford puppy farm pair avoid jail after dogs died and needed vet care

SHREWS COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 1/15/2021 – Shrewsbury Justice Center / Shrewsbury Crown Court – AGM 2021 …

Betty Chanelle Burton, 35, and Jeff James McDonagh, 38, received suspended sentences after breeding dogs in Telford that were found to have stomach problems, parasites, skin conditions and dirty fur.

They bred the puppies and offered them for sale as self-bred.

Burton and McDonagh were indicted after a police and RSPCA raid at McDonagh Lodge in Arleston Brook, Telford, in November 2018, in which 55 dogs were found on the premises.

The couple, along with co-conspirator Luke Gillman, all of Arleston Brook, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud last February.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard earlier in the trial that the trio sold 42 dogs in the Telford area, 15 of which died and the remainder required veterinary treatment.

An animal welfare expert said there was “no way” to get a breeding license.

The court also heard the dogs were linked to a Manchester-based puppy farm that sold 1,439 puppies for more than £ 250,000 in three years.

The judges were shown body-worn video footage from an RSPCA inspector visiting McDonagh Lodge.

It featured a variety of dogs including Dachshunds and King Charles Spaniels, with the inspector commenting on some of their dirty coats, mangy skin, and irritated ears.

The footage also showed items on the property, including a wood burner, wicker basket and bowl, with the inspector pointing out similar items that appeared in some online advertisements for puppies.

Burton and McDonagh, who have two children together, were present throughout the trial while co-defendant Gillman was tried in his absence.

Their criminal misconduct came to light when several people contacted the RSPCA with concerns about the health of puppies they bought or advertised for sale.

The investigation initially focused on addresses in Manchester and phones that Burton and McDonagh had connections to. Gillman worked as her clerk and lived in a trailer at home.

At a hearing last February, Judge Peter Barrie postponed their sentence on reports after Burton’s lawyers asked to give them time to organize childcare and get their affairs in order before a likely jail sentence.

However, both escaped prison. Burton was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for one year, and banned from keeping dogs for two years. McDonagh was sentenced to two years in prison and suspended for two years. He was not allowed to keep dogs for five years.

An arrest warrant has been issued against Gillman, 28.

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