A celebrity dog breeder has been banned from keeping dogs for life and ordered to pay more than £10,000 after he admitted to taking part in illegally cropping puppies’ ears.
Breeder Simon Davis mutilated the puppies’ ears, then sold them on for thousands of pounds to customers including Little Mix singer Leigh-Ann Pinnock and Geordie Shore cast member Aaron Chalmers.
During the raid, known as Operation Warhol, officers were led by RSPCA inspector Herchy Boal. The team found seven kennels and runs in a converted garage building in the breeder’s back garden that contained eight American Bulldogs.
Yesterday, Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard how seven of the puppies he had bred and sold had cropped ears. Ear-cropping is illegal in the UK under the Animal Welfare Act, unless carried out for medical reasons.
Davis pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court on 17 December.
He received a lifetime ban on keeping and dealing in dogs, and was also ordered to pay £10,973 in costs. He was given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.
Sara Pratt, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: As a result of the publicity created by both Simon Davis and the kennel, alongside the celebrity purchasers, there have been numerous images of Lions Lair puppies in the media, including in the USA.
She added: “There is no way of knowing what drugs were available during and after the operations carried out at Davis’ kennels, or if the dogs or puppies operated on were given appropriate pain relief during and after the operations.
“It’s also impossible to say whether any of the operations carried out had complications at any stage which would have caused further suffering to the dogs or puppies such as infection etc.”
Boal said: “We’re opposed to ear cropping – a process where ears are removed or surgically altered. It’s painful, wholly unnecessary and often done only for the purposes of appearance.
“Dogs should never be mutilated for cosmetic purposes and ear cropping can actually be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare. We’d urge people never to buy a dog with cropped ears and to report any concerns about ear cropping by calling us on 0300 1234 999.”