Stourbridge Puppy Owner In Court for Tail docking

​​​​​​​A man from Stourbridge has been ordered to pay nearly £1,000 and complete 100 hours of unpaid work after five puppies were found in his house with their tails cut off.

The court was told an animal welfare officer from Dudley Council visited Lees’ home in Stepping Stones, Stourbridge, after receiving information about alleged dog breeding. Once there, the officer found five spaniel puppies that appeared to have had their tails docked.

Lees, who was the owner of the puppies, pleaded guilty to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at the court on April 6. The act makes it an offence to dock the tails of dogs unless on veterinary grounds.

The 52-year-old was sentenced to a community order for 12 months, with a requirement to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay a total of £895.55 in court costs. Nick Powell, head of environmental health and trading standards, said:

“The council will not tolerate any actions that cause unnecessary suffering to animals. Where we do find it we will not hesitate to take the appropriate legal action.” 

In mitigation, Lees told the court the litter of puppies had been unplanned and denied he was a professional dog breeder. He said he was advised by an associate that docking the tails of the dogs would make them more attractive as working dogs and make it easier to re-home them. The defendant claimed he handed over £10 per puppy for it to be done by someone else.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, tail docking was banned in England and Wales. However an exemption was put in place for spaniels, terriers and hunt, point and retrieve breeds that are used to work.

Puppies of these types of dog may be docked by a vet providing it is done within the first five days of life. The owner or breeder must be able to prove that the puppies have been bred to work by showing the vet either a gun licence, or a letter from a land occupier stating the owner's dogs work on his land. The puppies must also be microchipped by a vet. Following both of these procedures, the vet must sign certificates to say that the puppies were both docked and microchipped in accordance with the law.

But Lees was unable to produce any paperwork to prove the tails of his puppies had been docked legitimately and lawfully, the court was told.


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