Norfolk dog breeder fraudulently traded puppies, court hears

Lisa Walsh at Norwich Crown Court.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Lisa Walsh at Norwich Crown Court. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
12:32 PM

A Norfolk dog breeder is said to have duped unsuspecting pet owners out of thousands of pounds by claiming puppies she sold were Kennel Club registered, when in fact they were not, a court heard.

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Lisa Walsh, 47, of Mill Road, Barnham Broom, operated a dog breeding business from a variety of addresses, in Norfolk, including a rental property Greenacres Farm, Tasburgh, as well as in Cheshire.

The prosecution claim she also falsified paperwork to give the misleading impression the puppies had been inoculated prior to sale, against deadly diseases such as parvovirus, when they had not, Norwich Crown Court heard.

David Wilson, prosecuting, on behalf of Norfolk Trading Standards, said some of the puppies bought from Walsh were vomiting and had diarrhoea after the new owners took them home, and others were found to suffer from health problems such as dry, flaky skin.

Mr Wilson said the owners said that they would never have contacted Walsh about buying a puppy if they knew the dogs were not Kennel Club registered and would not have paid the price Walsh was asking, if they had known the situation.

He said because people thought they were buying genuine pedigree dogs it meant Walsh could charge a premium and she had more than £43,000 in a building society account, brought in by the fraudulent puppy trading.

Mr Wilson told the jury: “The prosecution case is that Walsh participates in a fraudulent business to firstly secure sales she would not otherwise achieve. In doing so, Walsh also achieves vastly inflated sales prices for these puppies by deceiving purchasers by representing they are acquiring pedigree Kennel Club registered puppies, when they are not.”

He said the investigation had shown that Walsh had undertaken a number of steps to trick buyers including buying in litters of puppies.

She would also register extra puppies that did not exist to obtain “phantom paperwork” so she could falsely register puppies.

Mr Wilson said: “Walsh would also register a new litter with the Kennel Club stating they had been bred as a result of a mating with dogs that have never existed.”

He said on occasions where Walsh did not own an adult of the same breed as the puppy to show as the mother, she informed prospective buyers the mothers had died giving birth.

“This happened in relation to three separate litters of West Highland Terriers and a litter of Cocker Spaniels.”

Mr Wilson told the jury: “The prosecution case is that Walsh has participated in a fraudulent business structure to deceive consumers to secure the sales of puppies at what would be inflated prices for otherwise unregistered puppies.

“She has traded on the emotional pull involved in buying puppies to dishonestly maximise her financial gain.”

Following complaints Norfolk Trading Standards launched an investigation and made three visits to Greenacres Farm and in April 2012, when she was arrested on suspicion of fraud.

When trading standards officers entered the barn area of the premises, it contained a number of dogs including black, chocolate and yellow Labradors and puppies, a Boxer dog and puppies, West Highland Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and two Cocker Spaniel puppies.

Walsh has denied participating in a fraudulent business between September 2009 and October 2012.

She also denied the transfer of criminal property, £43,652, into a Norwich and Peterborough account knowing it was the product of fraudulent trading.

The trial continues.

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