1. ITV Report

Kent puppy breeder convicted after dogs found in "sickening" conditions

A beagle was described as so depressed she had 'shut down'. Photo: RSPCA

A puppy breeder from Kent has been convicted of animal welfare offences after dogs and cats were found in conditions described by the RSPCA as "sickening".

Dogs and their puppies were found dead or close to death when RSPCA inspectors raided an illegal puppy farm at Brenzett on the Romney Marsh.

Twenty dogs in all were found living in unsuitable conditions and were seized by police, with one having to be put down.

An elderly German shepherd outside in Feb weather tethered to a kennel with skin disease, wasted muscles, weak legs. Credit: RSPCA

Many were found half starving, with no daylight and in filthy conditions.

Mark Burgess's premises on the Old Ashford Road in Brenzett, near Ashford, was raided after receiving complaints from four members of the public.

All four of the complainants had bought puppies there between December 2017 and February 2018.

In all four cases, the pups had fallen ill and died within a few weeks.

Credit: RSPCA

Footage captured by the RSPCA's special ops unit shows 12 adult dogs and 8 pups living in conditions so bad that they were immediately seized by police and placed in RSPCA care.

A mix of breeds were found including beagles, Dalmatians and Spaniels.

Some were pregnant, while others were already caring for a litter of puppies.

Credit: RSPCA

When inspectors searched a freezer they made a horrifying discovery; the frozen body of a 4-week-old puppy.

Mark Burgess was convicted of eight animal welfare offences.

Amy Ockelford from the RSPCA says: "Animals have really paid the ultimate price here and the RSPCA is really pleased that we've been able to investigate, rescue animals from this property and bring this man to justice. The defendant was breeding dogs in order to sell them to unsuspecting members of the public and he was very much putting the profits ahead of the health and welfare of the dogs, and that's why the dogs were being kept in such squalor."

Amy Ockelford, RSPCA

The German Shepherd had to be put to sleep but the remaining dogs were all signed over into RSPCA care.

They have recovered from their ordeals and have been re-homed.

Two cats and 3 kittens suffering from cat flu were also seized, which have also recovered.

Mark Burgess is due back in court next month for sentencing.