A MAN was jailed for illegally importing docked and cultivated puppies in the UK, “endangering the status of a rabies free country”.
Peter Graham Harman, 38, from Verwood, pleaded guilty to being the only UK Dobermans trader importing and selling cut and cut puppies, which brought in almost £ 1million.
He also pleaded guilty to acquiring the proceeds of these sales, evading the 1974 Rabies Order by importing eight Doberman puppies to Britain on May 25, 2018, doing the same with seven puppies on June 25, 2018 and with ten on July 12. . 2018, and to ensure that the puppies are delivered to a location other than the one indicated on the passports, such as gas stations for example.
Harman was jailed for the offenses, which lasted between February 2017 and March 2020, at Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday.
Continuing, Malcolm Gibney told the court that Harman has been exploiting British Dobermans since 2016 and that since the company’s existence, Trading Standards suspected the defendant of “bending the rules” regarding the importation of cut and docked puppies using colleagues from Eastern Europe.
He said: “In January 2017, the defendant was questioned by Trading Standards on bail regarding alleged consumer protection violations.
“A decision was taken on this occasion to send him a written warning which was due to the fact that he had told the agents that he would close his business.
“The defendant clearly had no intention of closing his business because it continued to operate.”
Mr Gibney said Harman established a business relationship with Weymouth-based Spinegate Kennels and rented a kennel where the puppies were kept before they were sold.
He renewed his pet shop license in April 2019 after new contact from Trading Standards and then his relationship with the kennel ended as he owed £ 9,000.
Harman then changed their business model to deliver puppies to customers.
In September 2019, eight Doberman puppies with Serbian passports but Romanian microchips were detained at Eurotunnel which raised suspicions about their country of origin, the same dogs were arrested on August 13.
Eventually, officers searched Harman’s address and found conversations on his phone with colleagues from Eastern Europe, which showed he understood the regulations he was breaking.
Eight times, Harman’s customers failed to receive the puppy they ordered and paid for, with his business being called “shameful.”
Mr Gibney said £ 370,000 had been transferred to Harman, most of which were deposits, and an estimated £ 600,000 was found in cash.
He added: “By bringing in underage dogs and dogs from outside the EU that could not have been properly vaccinated, he put the UK’s rabies free status at risk.
“It is important that the perpetrators are arrested for the sake of the disease in the UK and for the welfare of the dogs.”
Mitigating, Syan Venton said Harman continued to operate because he didn’t want to let his customers down and dogs dropped off at gas stations were stops on the way to the intended address.
Despite this, Judge Stephen Climie sentenced Harman to 28 months in jail.
He said: “The whole of the UK was at risk of losing its rabies free status, although the limited means by which rabies can be transmitted is a factor that falls heavily on this tribunal.
“Immediate custody will show everyone involved what will happen if they put this country in danger.”
Ivan Hancock, Director of Trade Standards Services at Dorset Council, said: “Our Trade Standards team works with other agencies such as the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
“We make sure pets brought into the country follow the strict rules in place to ensure they are fit and healthy – and do not pose a risk of introducing disease into the UK.
“These rules include the rabies controls which were broken numerous times in this case, and over a considerable period of time.
“Some countries, like Serbia, are not classified as rabies free and therefore to import animals from these countries there are strict quarantine procedures to be followed and Harman has sought to avoid them.
“Having bypassed import controls on these puppies, he then misled buyers about the history and transportation of these animals, amounting to his guilt as the operator of a fraudulent business on a period of three years. ”