Buried alive! Back-street dog breeders are jailed for cruelty after newborn puppies are dumped in the ground
RSPCA officers discovered the tiny animals fighting for life after being buried in the back garden of the home of James and Lorraine Perks in TamworthThe Jack Russell puppies were put down soon after due to their condition
The animals were rescued along with 15 puppies and nine adult dogs
At Burton Magistrates” Court, James Perks, 74, his wife Lorraine, 49, and Stephen Jenkins, 35, were all sentenced to 25 weeks in prison
This is the forlorn face of a puppy rescued from a back-street breeder’s house where two newborn animals were found buried alive in a shallow grave.
Gasping for breath, the two puppies were discovered in the garden by RSPCA officers, having been covered in a layer of soil hours after they were born.
The puppies were in such a bad state they had to be put down at the scene.
Horrific: A Staffordshire bull terrier puppy rescued from the home of James Perks, his wife Lorraine an Stephen Jenkins
Twenty-four other dogs, some confined to rabbit hutches, were rescued, some ‘barking uncontrollably as if pleading for help’.
Disturbing footage of the discovery was released yesterday after the three people who lived in the house were jailed for a catalogue of animal cruelty charges.
James Perks, 74, his wife Lorraine, 49, and their lodger Stephen Jenkins, 35, ran a dog breeding business from their shabby home in Tamworth, Staffordshire, in which the animals ‘lived amongst squalor’.
Horrific: Shocked police and RSPCA officers discovered the tiny animals fighting for life after being freshly buried in the back garden of the home of James and Lorraine Perks in Tamworth, Staffs, last year
Terrifying: The helpless Jack Russell puppies were alive when they were pulled from the dirt, but their condition was so bad they had to be put down soon after
Traumatic: Vet Steve Odell who put the puppies to sleep later described the scene as “one of the most horrific ever witnessed”
The four-and-a-half-minute film shows the officers scouring the back garden, on August 25 last year after a tip-off from a woman who bought a puppy from the breeders, which died days later.
Officers discovered 15 puppies and nine adult Staffordshire bull terriers crammed into tiny rabbit hutches outside, which they were kept in for 23 hours a day.
One cramped hutch – measuring just 6ftwide and 3ft high – contained four adult terriers while other dogs lived in squalor in the house which was covered in faeces and urine.
In the footage, in which 20 RSPCA officers and police catalogue the shocking abuse of the animals, one officer discovers a tiny puppy whimpering after being buried alive.
An RSPCA inspector is heard saying: ‘The police officer has just uncovered a puppy that’s been buried in thegarden. Buried alive.
‘Oh my goodness me. She’s found it buried alive.’
Sentenced: Today at Burton Magistrates” Court James Perks, 74, (green coat), his wife Lorraine, 49, (right) and Stephen Jenkins, 35, (far left) were all sentenced to 25 weeks in prison
Upsetting: The RSPCA was alerted to the address by a routine call from a member of the public who bought a puppy from the Perks after seeing a card on a noticeboard
The squirming, dirt-encrusted animal can be heard crying out as a male vet inspects it and says: ‘It’s so poorly, euthanasia is going to be required straight away. We’ll have to put him to sleep.’
The officer then finds a second live puppy lying near the first.
The video finishes with the RSPCA officer filming the two pups lying almost lifeless on the lawn and concludes: ‘We’re sorting out immediate euthanasia for these poor puppies.’
The other dogs were confiscated and handed over to the RSPCA for rehoming.
Steve Odell, the vet who destroyed the puppies, said it was one of the most horrific scenes he had witnessed.
Cruel: Animals were kept in rabbit hutch-like cages and were locked away for 23 hours at a time
The trio were jailed for six months each after admitting ten animal welfare offences and banned for life from keeping animals.
Sentencing them at Burton-on-Trent Magistrates Court yesterday, chairman of the bench Peter Rolfe said: ‘If we could have we would have jailed them for far longer.’
Speaking of the buried puppies, prosecutor Paul Taylor said: ‘It was Mr Jenkins who buried them. He accepted he buried them but said he thought they we dead.
‘Mrs Perks told Mr Jenkins not to bury them but when he did so, she couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it.
‘All she had to do was take them out of the ground. Any human being would have done that.’ Speaking after thecase, RSPCA inspector Jayne Bashford said: ‘No matter how many years I work for the RSPCA this day will remain one which I will never forget.
‘All who attended on the day were shocked to the core.
Squalid: The living conditions of the animals at the home in Tamworth
The animals found at the address – the puppies and dogs which were removed from the location remain in RSPCA care as the defendants have refused to sign them over to the animal charity
Grim discovery: The puppies were found in the back garden of the property
‘The property was in a disgusting state and numerous young puppies living amongst the squalor. Two adult bitches in the living room had clearly been bred from several times.
“Thedogs outside, confined in rabbit hutches, had no bedding and barked uncontrollably as if pleading for help.
‘This case highlights all the concerns we have with respect to irresponsible and indiscriminate breeding of dogs.’