Glen Hayes, 53, of Gillingham, made money breeding and selling sick animals over Christmas. Convicted of ten counts of animal offences,he appeared yesterday (Monday 26 November) at Bexley Magistrates’ Court for sentencing.

His dealings were brought to the light  in January, when the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit (SOU) joined the Metropolitan Police to execute a warrant at a property in Bexleyheath, following calls from members of the public who had bought puppies from the address in the run-up to Christmas.

They found 38 dogs and 18 cats in filthy conditions in makeshift pens in the garden, and in small runs and cages in the house. The breeds found included Newfoundlands, Dachshunds, French bulldogs and Shih Tzus. One Newfoundland was found with seriously deformed legs and couldn’t walk while many of the dogs were “covered in mud, faeces and their coats were matted with dirt”.

“Some of the dogs had severe dental disease, some with docked tails and many had nasty eye infections or ears clogged with built-up hair and wax.”

An independent vet who joined officers on the raid to check all of the animals said it was “some of the worst conditions he’d ever seen”.

RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport said, “We’d been contacted by numerous people buying puppies who had grown suspicious of the operation that was being run from the house in Bexleyheath. People were concerned that they were never allowed beyond the living room when they visited the house to see the puppies and many who had purchased dogs reported that their pets had quickly fallen ill.

“Sadly, in some cases, people’s beloved new pet puppies had been so poorly that they’d died.”

Before the search, the RSPCA had received six complaints relating to Basset hounds, dachshunds, and a boxer. One of the dachshund puppies died on Christmas Day due to parvovirus.

Inspector Lamport added, “Everything was covered in filth and mud. All of the dogs were caked in the stuff – it was disgusting.

“The dogs had no way of getting out of the damp, dirty conditions. And the cats were being kept in cramped pens with two adults and a kitten found shut inside a tiny rabbit hutch-type enclosure.

“The house and garden were total mayhem but the living room – the only space prospective buyers were allowed access to – couldn’t have been more different. A pristine and impeccably clean space.

“Mr Hayes was involved in the day-to-day care of these animals and should have known better than to keep them in such horrendous conditions.

“Thankfully, we were able to save these lovely dogs and cats and they will all go on to lead much happier and healthier lives.”

All of the animals have since been rehomed, or are in foster care awaiting new homes.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said, “Unfortunately we know that lots of unscrupulous dealers will up their operations in the run-up to Christmas and try to cash in on families hoping to bring a dog into their lives.

“It’s devastating that, as in this case, many families will spend Christmas mourning the death of their new puppy when they should be celebrating a new addition to their home.”

Hayes was disqualified from keeping animals indefinitely and handed a 20-week prison term suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work, fined £3,500 and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Images by RSPCA

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