Date published: 26th February 2018

A woman has been jailed for 22 weeks – suspended for two years – after pleading guilty to two charges of keeping a dog-breeding establishment without a licence, and a further 15 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal or failing to ensure the welfare of an animal.

Rosemary Fabb, of Carr Lane, Roughton, near Cromer, was sentenced at Norwich Magistrates’ Court today after being caught in an undercover sting by North Norfolk District Council officers.

Mrs Fabb was also ordered to pay NNDC’s full costs, of £12,616, as well as a victim surcharge.

Mrs Fabb had been running an unlicensed puppy farm from outbuildings at her home address. Following indications that Mrs Fabb was breeding without a licence, North Norfolk District Council officers visited the premises in early 2017 and bought a puppy.

A warrant was then obtained and NNDC officers accompanied by the police and a vet returned to the site in February last year.

A number of dirty, matted and unsocialised dogs were found on the premises, living in cold and small pens in agricultural outbuildings that contained faeces and urine. There was evidence of a breeding operation and no indication that the dogs had been let out of their pens. Despite a number of dogs being kept in each pen, only one basket per pen was provided, and most of those lacked any bedding. The vet found that many of the dogs had untreated illnesses and conditions.

Last November, Mrs Fabb pleaded guilty to operating a dog-breeding establishment without a licence but not guilty to a number of charges relating to animal welfare, and a trial date was set. Since then, a further visit was made to her premises, in January this year, when more evidence of an unlicensed dog-breeding establishment was found. The condition of the premises had deteriorated further, and this visit resulted in a number of further animal-welfare charges and one further dog-breeding charge being brought. Mrs Fabb signed the dogs over to the RSPCA to avoid them being seized by NNDC, and all 10 dogs have now been rehomed.

Cllr Richard Price, North Norfolk District Council Portfolio Holder for Licensing, said: “This shows that we can and we will prosecute, and it should be a warning for others.

“We don’t take enforcement lightly but we do take animal welfare very seriously, and our licensing team will take action whenever necessary.

“It also highlights the usefulness of the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which helped us secure the evidence required to prosecute this case.”

Last updated: 26th February 2018