A pet shop owner has been fined for forging a underage puppy’s passport and then selling the pet online.
Artur Zuchowicz, from Wales, was convicted of two offences after placing a misleading advert on gumtree.com and selling the French Bulldog too young, reports the Plymouth Herald.
Plymouth Magistrates’ Court said that the pet passport contained a fake date of birth.
Zuchowicz was fined a total of £3,421 including £405 for each offence, £1,748 costs and a victim surcharge of £40.
A compensation order of £823 was awarded to the purchasers of the puppy.
The trading standards team stated that the advert failed to inform that the defendant was in fact a trader – a banned practice under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
The council had to take the puppy from the purchasers and quarantine it so the proper vaccinations could be given.
After the quarantine period was over, the dog was returned to its owners, but died several months later after suffering seizures.
Zuchowicz no longer is a pet shop licencee, nor does he sell dogs.
A Gumtree.com spokesperson told Pet Gazette: “This case proves that there are serious regulations that must be met when selling pets online – something we work hard on at Gumtree. This particular user has now been blacklisted from Gumtree and we are working with Trading Standards and the Police on the case.
“Advice on how to buy pets safely and responsibly is available on the Gumtree website, and we work with the RSPCA, DEFRA and Pets Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) – complying with all of their 18 standards.
“We advise people to watch out for popular breeds being sold at cheap prices, and recommend visiting a potential pet before buying it to ensure it is being kept in appropriate conditions.
“We will delete any ads we believe are encouraging or indicate signs of animal cruelty, and encourage people to report sellers who are keeping animals in bad conditions to Gumtree and the RSPCA immediately. A full summary of our rules around listing for pets and advice on how to buy pets safely can be found on our website.”