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Council prosecution sees unlicensed dog breeders hit with £600k+ confiscation order

A mother and daughter who bred dogs without a licence, rearing at least 193 litters, have been ordered to pay back more than £600,000 following a prosecution brought by Winchester City Council.

Southampton Crown Court heard that Lucinda Rolph and her daughter, Victoria Rolph oversaw a dog breeding business in Hampshire, which operated without a licence.

The city council said evidence gathered by its animal welfare team demonstrated that the Rolphs’ illegally sold at least 193 litters over a five-year period between 2013-2018.

A total of 38 different breeds including jack russells, miniature dachshunds and various cross breeds were sold online for prices ranging from £500-£1500.

The council’s investigation started after a complaint was passed to the team in July 2017. The investigation included obtaining an entry warrant for the property and identifying online accounts for websites, some using false identities, but linked back to the Rolphs’ email and phone numbers. Witness statements were taken from people who had bought puppies from the Rolphs.

The council said the law at the time of the offence required people breeding dogs for sale to have a licence as a dog breeding establishment if they reared more than five litters in a year.

Judge Henry said that the illegal operation had been carried on for some considerable time.

Lucinda Rolph had been warned of the need for a licence and had said that she was giving up breeding, yet she continued for a number of years, Winchester said. “They kept no records of this lucrative business and they used other people’s names - without their permission - to sell the puppies.”

Lucinda Rolph was given a confiscation order of £601,700.60 and Victoria Rolph, a confiscation order of £14,950. The council was awarded costs of £20,000.

The defendants were each ordered to undertake 60 hours of unpaid work over a 12-month period and they were disqualified from breeding dogs for six years.

Winchester City Council Cabinet Member for Built Environment and Wellbeing, Cllr Jackie Porter, said: “Unlicensed breeding is a serious matter and we carried out extensive investigations to bring the matter to the court. This sends a strong deterrent to anyone who thinks they can profit from unlicensed dog breeding and flaunt the protections that are in place to protect dogs.”

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