Puppy farm gang spared jail as judge hands out suspended sentences

A puppy farm gang of four who sold sick dogs they kept caged in dark sheds have been spared jail after receiving suspended sentences from the judge.

They were also ordered to pay £500 in costs and two of the gang were handed a three-month curfew from 8pm to 7am monitored by electronic tag.

Tony Hammond, 35, Roxanne Montgomery, 33, Vicky Montgomery, 53 and Teresa Wade, 57, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud for breeding the dogs at a travellers' site and selling them as home bred, well cared for puppies.

One of the dogs was "vomiting worms", some of its fur fell out and it had blood in its faeces, Basildon Crown Court heard.

The RSPCA who brought the case, said the puppies were sold from two empty houses disguised as family homes.

The gang kept the dogs in dark sheds. Credit: RSPCA

The charity originally rescued 76 dogs, but the number grew to 103 after several of bitches gave birth. Ninety-nine dogs were eventually re-homed after four died.

Animal cruelty charges are set to be pursued against Wade and Victoria Montgomery in a separate magistrates' court case.

Speaking outside court, RSPCA inspector Cliff Harrison, said: "It was clearly looked at seriously by the court and it reflects just how serious this case was in terms of hoodwinking the public into believing they were buying home-bred puppies that had been socialised and raised with children and pets when in effect they were buying factory-farmed puppies."

He added: "Unfortunately we believe there are a lot of misrepresentations of the provenance of puppies up and down the country and this has been exacerbated by the latest trend for cross-breed puppies."