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'Dog breeding farm' trial: Dead puppy found wrapped in plastic bag, court hears

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A dead puppy was found in a van wrapped inside a plastic bag during an RSPCA inspection of an alleged West Midlands dog breeding farm, a court has heard.

More than 30 animals were discovered - including puppies living on floors coated with faeces and bedding soaked with urine - at a West Midlands farm and stabling blocks, a district judge was told.

Sean Kerr, 52 and Louise St John Poulton, 42, of Pastures Farm, Coventry Road, Solihull, deny seven counts of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs, and five charges relating to improper animal welfare.

Birmingham Magistrates' Court was shown a video filmed by RSPCA inspector Rick Maskell, who went into the premises after police had executed a warrant on December 22 2015.

The RSPCA started its investigation after the charity received a call about a puppy sold by the farm which had become ill, the court heard.

Dogs - including bichon frises, chihuahuas, cockapoos and pugs - were found at the site when 14 police officers and RSPCA inspectors attended the farm.

In one video shot, Mr Maskell discovers the body of a puppy inside a plastic bag in the passenger footwell of a van on the site, and is heard to say: "It appears to be a dead puppy, grey and white in colour."

Other footage showed four puppies being kept in "complete darkness", with inspectors noting a "strong smell of urine and faeces" in various rooms the dogs were being kept in.

Herchy Boal, lead RSPCA officer in the case, told the court: "Kennel F was in complete darkness. There was no light in there at all.

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"The light switch did not work. There was a soaking wet bed."

Opening the facts of the case, prosecutor Iain O'Donnell said: "Mr Kerr was selling puppies from various premises under various different names and identities and, as a consequence, he was involved very plainly in the custody and control of these dogs referred to in the charges.

"He was responsible for the safety or duty of care for these dogs during the time referred to in the charges."

The court heard that Kerr has previously admitted being involved in the sales of puppies, but he denies breeding the animals.

The trial of Poulton was adjourned due to ill-health.

The case is expected to last up to three weeks.

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