The gang of international puppy smuggling ring has been sentenced to jail for a total of 18 years for selling animals online that had been so badly treated they died before the new owners got them home.
Many of them from the Irish Cawley traveler family, made more than £300,000 in a sophisticated fraud designed to dupe innocent dog owners out of their hard-earned cash.
Earlier, prosecutor Hazel Stevens revealed that excited new owners were horrified when their adorable pets started falling sick before they even got them home.
Some felines suffered from a highly contagious disease and became so riddled with it, they could not survive.
“Judge Sheridan heard how the Cawleys, now from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, used frontman Daniel Yeboah, aged 45 years, to place numerous adverts under false names before luring unsuspecting families into buying the smuggled puppies.
Mrs. Stevens told the judge: “Many people enjoy sharing their homes with a pet, but these pets are not commodities to be bought and sold.
They’re living creatures who need care and compassion as any other family member would.
The puppy mills running this business have no regard for the welfare of these animals or for making sure they are
In a heartrending victim impact statement, Kimberley Duffy told the court how buying her Shih Tzu puppy had affected her family.
She said: ‘When I went to see Barnaby and found out he was being bullied by another dog, I gave him away instantly and saved myself from any further damage.
I then decided to buy another puppy from the same website but hopefully one that was not being bullied and had more love in its life. This time I went to get him myself.
When I came back, Barnaby started chewing the carpets and pulling everything off it in the house.’
These animals are exploited as commodities by some sellers without adequate concern for their welfare or the impacts on the purchasers and children in the family setting.
The court heard that the Duffys lost more than £1,300 because they needed to spend on vet bills and buying Barnaby from the Cawleys.
“We feel anger, frustration, and are furious at the lies we were told by the seller.” Ms. Duffy said of her family pet’s recent captivity in a zoo across the street from their home.
“‘The events that took place that morning, the screams and the devastation from our children—everything is just too difficult to describe,” she continued.
Following a two-day sentencing hearing in Aylesbury Crown Court, Judge Sheridan said that not one of the defendants should ever be given a license to breed animals.
The corresponding effects, in this case, cannot reasonably be thought of by the public as anything other than utterly abhorrent.
‘This is an industry based on cruelty and misery for both animals and human beings who sought to buy them. The protection of the public must be my foremost concern.
The judge also warned consumers to take care when they bought pets, including dogs and puppies, from Pets4Homes.
For those involved, here are the sentences they received:
- Daniel Yeboah and John Cawley, both from Avon House in Bletchley, were sentenced to 42 months imprisonment for their role in the smuggling.
- Joseph Cawley Senior of Willen Caravan Site in Newport Pagnell was also found guilty of conspiring with them and jailed for 45 months.
- Michael Cawley, a 41-year-old man from Milton Keynes who gained £54,000 through the fraud is in prison for 27 months.
- Austin Paice, a 34-year-old man from Whaddon Way in Buckinghamshire, was arraigned alongside the other frontman of the operation, John O’Brien. Both Austin and John were sentenced to one year and three months respectively.
- Mrs. O’Brien, 32-years-old from Grangers Croft, was told that her sentence was suspended because she has to care for her children while Mr. O’Brien remains in prison. However, she will face a 12 week period of imprisonment as well as have to pay £1000 in compensation to victims during three month periods.
- After allowing her home to be used as a location for puppy sales, 30-year old Rebecca Hall from Shepherds Close in Newport Pagnell was handed a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay £750, split between the victims of the fraud.
- Mary Ward-Jackson, 31, of Reeves Croft in Milton Keynes was given three months jail time suspended for two years with a requirement to complete 20 rehabilitation activity days.
- Mr. Joseph Cawley Junior received his sentence on Thursday, which will see him complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity days.
- Annalise Cawley, 22 of the Willen Caravan Site was sentenced to 12 months in prison but had it suspended for two years and must complete 20 rehabilitation days and 150 hours of unpaid work.
- James Yeboah, 43, of Avon House in Bletchley was given suspended imprisonment for two years. In addition, he will have to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £330.54 in prosecution costs and £669.46 in compensation to the victims of the scam.
Furious Judge Sheridan banned each of the 13 defendants from owning or controlling any animals for 10 years, with the exception of Wendy O’Brien and Rebecca Hall who were permitted to keep their current pets.
Ending the hearing, Judge Sheridan said he would “try to reimburse them so they can buy a puppy from a legitimate breeder if that is what they want to do.” Some of the victims he suspected never wanted an animal again because of their experiences.
A Pets4Homes: Though rare, circumstances such as the one in question have happened during Pets4Homes’ transition to new management. Increased security features include advanced ID verification and Trust & Safety teams reviewing adverts 24/7.
When a buyer deposits money to purchase an animal, they will not receive it unless satisfied with the outcome of their visit. This is a safeguard against fraud and takes place long before the pet can be handed over to its new owner.
Pets4Homes is not a breeder but passes animals on from breeders, re-homing charities, and even owners who can no longer look after them.
“We are proud to be the safest marketplace in the UK for adopting pets, as well as maintaining a zero-tolerance policy against exploitation,” we said.
“Our security measures are among the best in the world and our team rigorously monitors our safety features year-round.”
‘We always collaborate with the authorities in investigations and preparation of prosecutions, proud to play a part in bringing such people to justice.’