Posted: 13.01.22 at 17:34 by Issy Millett
A pair of millionaire dog breeders based in Bonvilston were ordered to pay more than £450,000 by a judge for illegal practices that included keeping dogs in persistent cycles of pregnancy.
Victoria Shellard, 40, and her husband Karl Shellard, 43, sold bulldog puppies for up to £20,000 a time through their unlicenced business Posher Bulls.
A court was told that the couple bred at least 67 litters between 2014 and 2020, and information on known C-sections indicated 43 litters were delivered between 2018 and 2019 alone.
The pair forced breeding bitches to deliver more than one litter a year, often artificially inseminating them soon after delivering a previous litter.
One dog named Coco delivered six litters within a four-year period.
Cardiff crown court heard that the couple had made up to £372,000 since 2014 selling puppies to customers through social media and ads on a website.
The Shellards repeatedly ignored demands from the Vale of Glamorgan Council to obtain a breeding licence.
A vet concluded that had an application been submitted it would not have been successful.
Their four-bedroom home in the nearby town of Bonvilston was raided in December 2019, where investigators found 28 dogs in an outbuilding with a laboratory equipped for collecting semen and taking blood.
Two other properties connected to the business were also raided. At one in Bonvilston officers discovered 24 dogs, and six dogs were found at a property in North Cornelly.
The Court heard the couple failed to apply for a breeding license until January 2020.
Tim Evans, for the prosecution, said: “That was two weeks after the execution of a warrant at the premises and almost two years after being told that a license was necessary.”
“This back-to-back breeding would have been a licensing offence had they been licensed breeders. It is something that even legitimate breeders should never do.”
“But, irrespective of the absence of a breeder’s licence, it is an animal welfare offence as the recovery from a caesarean section takes many months and the Shellards were artificially inseminating these dogs long before they were healthy enough to undergo a pregnancy and subsequence C-section again.”
The Shellards pleaded guilty to breeding dogs without a licence and nine charges of failing to ensure the needs of a protected animal for which they were responsible.
Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “You were running a puppy farm and doing it to make money, and you made a great deal of money indeed.
“You could have run an extremely profitable business if you were properly registered but you’re going to pay the price for that folly.”
Mr and Mrs Shellard were fined £19,000 each, ordered to pay court costs of £43,775 and a victim surcharge of £175.
They were also ordered to pay back £372,531 within three months or face two years in prison.
Cllr Eddie Williams, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Legal, Regulatory and Planning Services, said: “Careful work by SRS has led to this outcome, bringing people involved in cruel and unregulated animal breeding practices to justice.
“I hope this sends out a message that the Council will not tolerate such behaviour. We will come after anyone involved in this type of activity and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
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