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Council prosecution sees dog breeders ordered to pay £450k+ Published Date: 16/01/2022

Reported by Local Government Lawyer, a couple who illegally bred dogs have been ordered to pay more than £450,000 following a successful prosecution by Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Karl and Victoria Shellard pleaded guilty at Cardiff Magistrates Court to charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 brought by Shared Regulatory Services, which works for Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Bridgend councils.

Mr and Mrs Shellard were convicted of breeding bulldogs without a licence and over the number of litters produced within a short period that gave dogs insufficient time to recover after delivering a previous litter.

Fines were set to reflect their means, good character and early guilty pleas.  Mr and Mrs Shellard were fined £19,000 each, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £43,775.50 and a victim surcharge of £175 each. 

They were also told to repay a total of £372,531.54 within three months in a Proceeds of Crime Hearing or face a two-year prison sentence.

The court heard that in January 2018 they were warned that a further litter of puppies would need a breeding licence and failure to obtain one could lead to prosecution.

They chose not to apply, and a vet concluded that had an application been submitted it would not have been successful.

After a search warrant was executed at their home in December 2019, officers found 28 dogs in an outbuilding and a laboratory with equipment including a multipurpose centrifuge machine, microscopes, equipment for storing and collecting semen and for taking blood.

Officers then found 24 dogs at another property in the same village, and six at another property.

The couple bred at least 67 litters between 2014 and 2020. One dog, named Coco, had delivered six litters within four years while numerous others were forced to deliver two litters in less than a year. 

The Shellards’ dogs registered with five different veterinary practices and litters were given different names and addresses to avoid detection by both the council and Kennel Club.

HHJ Morgan said the Shellards chose not to get a dog-breeding licence for reasons that were wholly inadequate and that their breeding practices flew in the face of veterinary advice, although conditions were better than other puppy farms.

Eddie Williams, Vale of Glamorgan’s cabinet member for legal, regulatory and planning services, said: “Careful work by SRS has led to this outcome, bringing people involved in cruel and unregulated animal breeding practices to justice. 

“I hope this sends out a message that the council will not tolerate such behaviour. We will come after anyone involved in this type of activity and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”