Puppy smuggler from East Ham banned from owning dogs
- Credit: Newham Council
A man who trafficked puppies worth almost £70,000 into the UK and then advertised them for sale online has been banned from owning dogs.
Simon Lawrence, from East Ham, illegally brought dozens of puppies into the country from Ireland, Stratford Magistrates’ court heard.
Newham Council began a months-long investigation into the ring after a potential buyer visited Lawrence’s home in Gresham Road and reported concerns about the welfare of the dogs.
Lawrence had a number of different breeds in the house, including Chihuahuas, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Bichon Frise.
He was charged with illegally importing and advertising for sale £68,850 worth of puppies under Animal Welfare Regulations and sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £1095 in costs and fines on February 24.
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He was also banned from owning dogs for five years.
Councillor James Beckles, Newham’s cabinet member for crime and community safety, said: “Our officers were alerted by a member of the public who reported their concerns for the puppies’ welfare following a visit to Mr Lawrence’s address.
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“Lawrence has been dealt with robustly by the courts and this should serve as a warning to anyone intending to operate in this manner.
“We thank the individual who alerted our officers and encourage people to report any concerns relating to animal welfare or potential illegal activity, safe in the knowledge that it will be thoroughly investigated.”
The demand for dogs during lockdown has caused a surge in animals being imported from abroad.
Figures showing more than 60,000 dogs were brought in the EU in 2020, compared to 30,930 in 2016.
The Kennel Club’s Bill Lambert said: “Responsible UK breeders are unable to meet demand for puppies during the pandemic.
“So importers are rushing to fill the gap. The increase of dogs from abroad isn’t surprising but it is a huge worry.
“The figure doubling since 2016 raises significant concerns regarding animal welfare and exploitation, including transporting conditions, puppy farming and illegal smuggling.”