Dog seller ordered to pay £5,000 over puppy fraud

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Durham dog seller who gave fraudulent information about puppies has been ordered to pay over £5,000.

Jodie Green, 24, from Consett, misled buyers of four animals into thinking they were pedigree creatures or insured.

One of the buyers was a 72 year old woman in ill health who was promised her money back if she could not cope with the animal.

However she did not get a refund when it became unwell.

Two of the other dogs also became ill, with one buyer unable to get the cost of her veterinary treatment back due to the lack of insurance.

Green has now been ordered to pay her victims over £1,700 in compensation and given a five year Criminal Behaviour Order, after appearing in court.

She was prosecuted by Durham County Council’s consumer protection service for four charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, of giving false descriptions of puppies in order to influence people into making purchases they might not otherwise have made.

Newton Aycliffe magistrates on Monday heard how four members of the public contacted Green, of Johnsons Buildings, Iveston, after seeing adverts on the Pets4Homes website offering puppies for sale, in 2014.

The potential buyers visited the defendant to see the puppies and agreed to buy them, based on the information she had provided.

Magistrates were told the buyers had been led to believe the animals had proof of pedigree and insurance but that no substantive documents were provided.

One man bought a Bassett Hound from Green for £450, believing it was wormed.

Yet he was told by a vet the dog was not.

Magistrates were also told how a 72 year old woman bought a Maltipoo puppy from the defendant for £400 on the understanding she could return the animal and get her money back if she could not look after it due to her age and ill health.

The puppy subsequently passed blood and the woman attempted to return it but did not get her money back.

In the third case, a woman paid £400 for a West Highland Terrier, which subsequently became ill.

She was unable to get the £64 she paid for a vet back due to the promised insurance not being in place.

In the fourth, a woman bought a Pug puppy for £425, which also fell into ill health.

Green and her solicitor were written to on several occasions by the council but failed to respond.

In court, she pleaded guilty to all charges.

Magistrates were told how online adverts were being passed around by other breeders and that no caution was given to their accuracy.

The court heard the defendant had let her standards slip and that she had been reckless rather than dishonest.

Green was fined £100 for each offence, ordered to pay £3,000 towards prosecution costs and £1,739.78 in compensation.

A Criminal Behaviour Order was imposed for five years.

This order is to ensure that Green acts properly when selling dogs in future, and includes a requirement that she does not misrepresent details about animals and the benefits that come with them.

Speaking after the case, Joanne Waller, the council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “We take this type of matter very seriously in County Durham.

“The sale of animals can be very emotive, and we found that the seller was wrongly describing the puppies which influenced consumers who then chose to buy them and did not receive the necessary registrations, insurance or other advertised benefits.

“We are pleased that the court has issued the Criminal Behaviour Order as it will go some way towards ensuring Green does not reoffend.

“We would advise anyone looking to buy any animal including dogs to ensure that the seller holds all the necessary licenses and to ensure they know exactly who the seller is and that any advertised benefits including registration certificates and insurances are provided before agreeing to buy.”

For advice if you’re thinking about buying a puppy, visit:www.durham.gov.uk/buyingapuppy