A man has been given community service after he crammed 44 puppies into the back of a van, killing 20 of them.
Patrick Stokes, 25, was stopped on the M6 on a hot summer’s day last August after a woman reported seeing him transferring the dogs between vehicles.
She heard loud whimpering coming from the two vans so went over and challenged them, taking pictures, in Charlton Kings, Cheltenhnam.
Prosecutor Graham Dono said: ‘Stokes told the woman he was transferring them from one van to the other as it was “too hot for them” but she thought this was strange as the second van was smaller and was not ventilated.
‘She counted that there were over 20 puppies in the larger vehicle but was unable to calculate how many had been transferred to the small van.
‘The police alerted all forces around the country and within an hour Stokes had been stopped on the M6.
‘When Stokes was arrested he was asked when the puppies had last been fed and watered. Stokes responded that it was when they had arrived from Ireland.’
It later emerged that 20 of them had the canine version of coronavirus.
All of the dogs – including 10 Beagles, seven Border Collies, three Chihuahuas and a Shih Tzu – needed emergency veterinary treatment when they were discovered.
Stokes said he paid £2,500 for the dogs and £2,400 for the transportation from Belfast.
Michael Levy, defending, said: ‘The shock of him appearing at court on these charges has made sure he will not be doing anything similar in the future. I believe he should be punished by means of a conditional discharge.’
Magistrate Sue Alexander told Stokes it was ‘only a matter of chance’ that he was spotted by a member of the public.
She said: ‘Having put 15 puppies in each crate that was definite overcrowding and it no doubt resulted in the unnecessary suffering for the puppies which all needed veterinary care to deal with their dehydration.
‘Because of these factors we assess this as being far too serious for a conditional discharge. And having been convicted of this you are being banned from owning, keeping or transporting of dogs for two years.’
He was ordered to pay £180 and given 100 hours community service