One of the families who fell victim to a scam where fraudulent veterinary paperwork was supplied to a Hayes -based puppy farming gang have told how their pet became ill less than a day after they bought him.
The Reed family, from West Sussex, spotted cavapoo Max being advertised online in November 2015.
They went to meet Max and then paid £470 in cash before taking him home.
Owner Rebecca Reed said: "The breeder couldn't find the vaccination paperwork so said he'd sent it on.
"We were so excited to have him home, but just 17 hours after he arrived it all went wrong."
"Max was a lot quieter than he first seemed. He was so tiny. He wasn’t interested in eating but was constantly drinking,” Mrs Reed continued.
Devastatingly, Max collapsed and did not even have the energy to lift his own head, so the family had to rush him to a vet.
Following weeks of care and multiple tests, Max was diagnosed with megaesophagus, a hereditary condition which meant that it was difficult for food to reach his stomach through the oesophagus.
Mrs Reed and her family had to rearrange their work shifts and routines to care for Max, whose vet bills for emergency treatment and surgery totalled £5,600.
Now aged three, the plucky pup has managed to pull through and is doing well.
"He has gone from strength to strength,” Mrs Reed added.
"The vets called him a ‘miracle’ and couldn’t believe he’d pulled through. We’re just so pleased he’s now a happy, healthy dog and can live a normal life.”
On Monday (April 9), a jury unanimously convicted Uxbridge-based vet Daniel Doherty for fraud. He had been working with puppy farmers Simon O'Donnell, Thomas O’Donnell, Thomas Stokes and Edward Stokes, all from Hayes.
After a four-week trial, Doherty was found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud by making false representations to members of the public for the purpose of selling puppies.
Other people implicated in the RSPCA investigation:
- Simon O'Donnell, 30, of Bradenham Road, Hayes, will be sentenced after admitting one offence of conspiracy to commit fraud, three animal welfare offences and one offence of running a pet shop without a licence;
- Margaret McDonagh, 27, of Bradenham Road, Hayes, will be sentenced having admitted three fraud offences;
- Edward Stokes, 36, of Rosedale Avenue, Hayes, and later of Tenaplas Drive, Upper Basildon in Berkshire, will be sentenced having admitted one conspiracy to commit fraud offence and one animal welfare offence;
- Thomas Stokes, 25, of Coldharbour Lane, Hayes, will be sentenced having pleaded guilty to one conspiracy to commit fraud offence and one animal welfare offence;
- Thomas O’Donnell, 29, of Bedwell Gardens, Hayes, will be sentenced having previously admitted four offences of fraud and three animal welfare offences;
- Mary Teresa Stokes, 34, of Rosedale Avenue, Hayes, was sentenced at a previous hearing at Isleworth Crown Court on September 7 2017 having pleaded guilty to one offence of failing to meet the needs of dogs. She was given a 12-month conditional discharge, disqualified from keeping dogs for five years and ordered to pay £250 in costs.
A further two women were given adult written cautions and criminal behaviour orders.
The falsified and fraudulent health cards he issued disguised the fact that the puppies were farmed, imported or of unknown origin, instead indicating the puppy was the offspring of a family pet, home-bred and socialised within a local residential family environment.
Doherty and the puppy farmers will appear at Isleworth Crown Court in May to face sentencing.
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