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Dog-sitter at the centre of 'pets' row is banned from keeping dogs

Louise Lawford was banned from keeping dogs for five years at Birmingham Magistrates' today (23 January). Credit: PA Images

A dog-sitter, who is at the centre of a row over pets which allegedly went missing while in her care - has been banned from keeping dogs for five years.

Louise Lawford, 48, admitted to an animal welfare offence and three business licensing breaches connected to her former business Pawford Paws.

An investigation was launched by Birmingham City Council after Lawford claimed to have 'lost' five dogs in her care, last June.

She said the canines went missing while she took them for a walk in Hopwas Woods, near Tamworth, Staffordshire.

Images of the 'lost' pets Pablo, Maggie, Charlie, Ralph and Jack, also know as the 'Tamworth Five', were post on social media - as their owners appealed for information.

None of the missing dogs have been returned to their owners and their 'fate remained a mystery'.

Appearing at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (23 January) Lawford pleaded guilty to four charges in total after a prosecution brought by Birmingham City Council.

She was also fined £800 for the offences and ordered to pay £2,616 costs.

The 48-year-old, from Birmingham remained sat with her head bowed in the dock as District Judge Joanna Dickens described it as a 'very strange case'.

Pugs Ralph and Charlie were part of the group of dogs that vanished. Credit: Becky Parsons

Lawford pleaded guilty to boarding more than the maximum number of three small dogs allowed at her kennels between June 18 and June 23 last year.

She also admitted boarding dogs from different households without written consent from their owners, and without ensuring dogs were vaccinated, flea-treated and wormed, over the same period.

Mrs Lawford further pleaded guilty to failing to seek veterinary treatment for a West Highland Terrier, named Charlie, after he developed a skin infection on his muzzle, while under her care.

The court was told that her council licence was revoked last year.

A further five charges relating to that alleged incident had been withdrawn.

Prosecutor Jonathan Barker said they had been 'predicated on the defendant's own explanation that 'the dogs were lost as she took them for a walk'.

He added 'that's an explanation that the prosecution simply does not accept'.

Defending Mrs Lawford, Tom Walking said she was a 'life-long animal-lover' and was under extreme pressure and stress' after the break-down of her marriage.

He added that the dog-sitter wanted to offer 'her apologies and sincere remorse for the pain she knows those dog owners suffered'.