Shropshire woman jailed after animals found in 'appalling' conditions on illegal puppy farm

More than 40 animals were seized in the raid Credit: RSPCA

A Shropshire woman has been jailed for running an illegal dog breeding business where animals were kept in appalling conditions.

Alison Bransby, 62, was also disqualified from keeping all animals for life and ordered to pay costs of £44,000, following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

She had pleaded guilty to 17 animal welfare offences relating to 27 dogs, eight puppies, two cats, a horse, a lamb, a terrapin and an African grey parrot. This included one offence of breeding and selling puppies without a licence.

The investigation was launched following complaints from members of the public who had bought puppies and dogs from the farm which later became ill.

A police and RSPCA raid on White House Farm, Hollins Lanes, Tilstock, near Whitchurch, found 35 dogs, cockapoos, dachshunds, Cavalier King Charles spaniels and terriers along with other animals.

The court heard that Alison Bransby had made £150,000 from illegally breeding and selling puppies.

An African Grey Parrot was housed here living in a filthy cage with a thick layer of dried faecal matter Credit: West Mercia Police

Her daughter Kayleigh Bransby, 31, who also lived at the farm, was given an 11-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months.

She was also ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work and was given a 10-year ban on keeping all animals.

In addition to this, she was also ordered to pay costs of £20,000 after admitting nine animal welfare offences.

The court heard how the mother and daughter were illegally operating an extensive commercial dog breeding operation at the site and advertised the enterprise on multiple websites.

Dogs and puppies were housed in wooden sheds, pens and kennels, some barely bigger than a large rabbit hutch.

The investigation was launched after complaints from members of the public who had bought puppies from the farm which later became ill Credit: RSPCA

Dozens of other neglected and poorly animals were discovered at the property in February 2021 including:

  • 15 dogs, some with significant underlying health conditions, living in dark, cluttered and unhygienic conditions in the kitchen with limited access to water bowls and bedding

  • Eight puppies, born to a one-eyed mother dog, found in an outdoor kennel block with no water

  • Four dogs with severe dental disease

  • Two cats with ear disease

  • A lamb whose lower eyelids had rolled in

  • A terrapin with a heavily deformed shell living in an enclosure with no heat source

  • An African grey parrot with extensive feather/fur loss to its chest living in a filthy cage

  • A thoroughbred mare called Ruby with severely overgrown hooves that had not been treated for at least six months and teeth that had not been seen for two years

Cats with ear disease were found in the raid in Shropshire Credit: RSPCA

The court also heard that Alison Bransby was suffering from physical and mental health issues during the time of the offences.

District Judge Ian Strongman said that although the cruelty was not deliberate, it had occurred over a prolonged period of time and it was obvious the animals were clearly suffering.

All but three of the animals have since been rehomed, including dachshund Eric, who was adopted by a police officer from West Mercia who assisted in the operation.

RSPCA inspector Ian Briggs, said: "This appalling case shows what can happen when breeders and sellers put profits ahead of the health and welfare of their dogs.

"Stud dogs used on puppy farms are not spoken about as much but Teddy was the saddest of examples."

Dogs and puppies were housed in wooden sheds, pens and kennels Credit: RSPCA

He adds: "Blind and deaf, he’d been used all his life by the defendants for financial gain, yet in his final months he wasn’t even afforded the kindness of a comfortable resting place and had simply been forgotten about, just left to lie in his own urine.

"We'd always encourage anyone thinking of getting a puppy to adopt rather than buy, and to do lots of research first to ensure they source a dog responsibly and do not end up lining the pockets of irresponsible people who make money out of misery."

PCSO Hannah Lister, from West Mercia Police, said: "West Mercia would like to thank the members of the public who came forward to express their concerns about the farm, and to the RSPCA for their help, support and guidance in securing the charges against Alison and Kayleigh Bransby.

"We want to send a clear message that if evidence emerges of people committing cruel offences against animals, we will work with our partners to bring them to justice."

Alison Bransby was jailed for 22 weeks at Kidderminster Magistrates Court.