BREAKING: Man behind suspected puppy breeding farm where dogs lived in squalor is banned from keeping animals

Squalid conditions in bungalow
Squalid conditions in bungalow

Three dogs had to be put down after  a group of dogs were found living in their own faeces and urine from a squalid suspected puppy breeding farm in Broughton.

Robert Fishwick, 44, of D'Urton Lane, Broughton, Preston, admitted five offences under the Animal Welfare Act of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide a suitable environment for the animals.

Preston Magistrates' Court imposed a 17 week jail term, suspended for a year, with 12 months supervision and £160 costs, and a ban on owning or keeping animals for five years.

Police and animal welfare officers raided the property - a bungalow and large outdoor building - on March 30 after members of the public reported concerns about the animals.

Two French Bulldogs, one Beagle, three Alsatians, one Doberman and several miniature type dogs were all removed on welfare grounds.

Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Paul Ridehalgh said the property was in a "horrendous" condition, with a sharp tin can found in one kennel.

Some of the dogs were in kennels with mouldy excrement and had body sores.

He added: " Many of the dogs had little or no access to water and there was little evidence of food. It appeared to the officer that all the dogs encountered appeared hungry and were in various conditions of ill health. Enclosures were unclean and littered with dog excrement, one enclosure was too small for the dog and the animals had no access to food or water.

"There were a large number of dogs present with one small puppy inside a room off the kitchen area with the remaining dogs in a small makeshift kennel at the entrance to the site.

"It appeared all the rooms had been used at one time as the building smelt heavily of urine and dog faeces with dog faeces scattered around various rooms.

"There was evidence of chewed wooden doors and skirting boards throughout. It was also noted there were large piles of wet sawdust shavings in and around all the doors as if they had been swept out of the building.

"During the search a diary was found with numerous entries. Each entry showed the sale of a dog or puppy and the price paid by the customer. There were also some invoices numbers which matched dates in a receipt book. There was a regular headcount of dogs at the premises which despite the sales ranged from 14 to 24 dogs at any one time. It appeared 36 dogs had been sold in the period. "

A three year old French bulldog, adult French bulldog and an Alsatian were put to sleep due to having dislocated kneecaps and serious skin complaints.

Fishwick claimed he had taken rescue dogs on and denied breeding for profit.

Defending, Trevor Colebourne described it as "well intentioned but incompetent care" and said the condition leading to an Alsatian being euthanised was not brought on by his client.

He said: "Of course what he should have done was get veterinary care for both of those dogs but it was difficult as he had a number of dogs and there were the financial implications, particularly as the vast majority weren't his and the owners should have been contributing themselves.

"That is the rather sad tale as to what has happened.

"This is not a case of a man running some commercial organisation, he didn't make a single penny out of it. He sold his litters but that is something he's done for years and has nothing to do with this case."

He said Fishwick was the sole carer for his children after their mother left.

Fishwick wiped tears with a tissue as he added: "He is a dog lover who is beside himself with what has happened. He is thoroughly and utterly ashamed at what he had done.

"When I read out the veterinary reports he just sat and sobbed away at what I was reading to him.

"That is a measure of how terribly sorry he is for the animals who have suffered in this case. Mercifully the vast majority have regained good health and have been rehomed."