A family ‘gang’ has been jailed for a combined 18 years for selling puppies they treated so badly by starving and keeping in unhealthy cages that some died before they reached their new homes.
The Cawley family from Ireland ran a puppy farming ring that tricked people into buying pets that they treated so badly, only for the new owners to face alarming veterinary bills and death of the puppies.
Police found that the family had been keeping many of their puppies in dark, cold pens which smelt of urine a sign they had not been cleaned for a long time.
One of the dog pens had nails sticking out and sharp metal mesh wires hanging down, authorities found.
Animal protection and rights agency,, RSPCA believe the dogs in that pen tried to chew their way out of the horrible space because there were holes in the walls and the floor.
RSPCA say many of the poor animals had untreated health issues, including fur loss, ear infections and dental diseases.
The gang was discovered after a joint investigation by the RSPCA, the local Trading Standards department and the police.
The RSPCA became suspicious after it received multiple complaints about puppies bought through website, Pets4Homes around the Milton Keynes area in Buckinghamshire.
Although the puppies had arrived from different addresses, dozens of people were reporting similar concerns.
The animals were falling sick soon after arriving at their new homes and families were discovering their new pets had undisclosed health conditions, with three puppies dying.
In other cases, people would buy puppies because they felt sorry for them living in horrible conditions on the Willen Road travellers site in Newport Pagnell.
13 of the family members were sentenced on Thursday, August 5, to a combined 18 years imprisonment by Judge Francis Sheridan.
Their remaining 54 dogs were taken in by the RSPCA, as the criminals will spend the longest combined prison sentence related to the animal charity’s investigations ever seen – more than 18 years.
Joseph Cawley Sr, 44, his wife, Margaret, 46 and John Christopher Cawley, 24, were jailed for 45 months.
Daniel Yeboah, 45, was handed a 42 month prison sentence; Michael Cawley, 41, was given 27 months, John Paul O’Brien, 50, and 30-year-old Austin Charles Paice 13 months.
Annalise Cawley, 22, Wendy Jane Ann O’Brien, 32, Mary Ward, 31, James Yeboah, 43 and Rebecca Elizabeth Lorraine Hall, 30, all received suspended jail sentences.
Joseph Cawley Junior, 18, escaped a prison sentence but was handed a community order and told to do 150 hours of unpaid work.