Dominic Fouracre and Rachel Lewis were found guilty of neglecting 12 bulldogs (Picture: Media Wales)
Four bulldogs had to be put down after police found them and eight others living in ‘appalling’ conditions.
The former couple had tried to sell a number of puppies before police visited Fouracre’s then-home to find it covered in dog faeces and urine.
The animals also had no access to food or water, the court heard.
Twelve dogs – three adults and nine puppies – were subsequently seized and checks by vets found several health issues.
These included severely low weight, spinal problems, corkscrew tails, an inability to walk properly, breathing difficulties, conjunctivitis, alopecia, yeast infection and an ear infection.
Three puppies and one adult dog had to be put down. Others will have long-term medical problems, said vets.
The bulldogs were found to have various health issues (Stock image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Fouracre, a 35-year-old builder, owned the three adult bulldogs, while care worker Lewis, 44, owns the mother of the litter, which was not seized.
Prosecutor Martha Smith-Higgins said police officers visited the home after a complaint was made to Hope Rescue.
When police arrived they saw ‘eight bulldogs behind a baby-gate, which was covered in dog hair and faeces, with food pushed underneath that they could not access,’ Ms Smith-Higgins said.
‘There was faeces pushed into the floor and one dog was seen to eat faeces from the floor.
‘The dog bedding was littered with faeces and urine. There was no water or food in the bowls.
‘Blood could be seen in the shredded paper in a crate. Four puppies were confined to a small box and many dogs were suffering from cherry eye, which is where the eye pops out and becomes exposed. All 12 dogs were seized.’
Lewis had initially kept the puppies at hers, but she said Fouracre had offered to vaccinate the litter and sell them at eight weeks old.
However, Fouracre – who by this point was her ex-partner – was ‘not happy’ with the litter, the court heard, and began ignoring Lewis’s messages.
He then went on a holiday abroad and returned to find Lewis had moved the puppies to his property.
Fouracre proceeded to neglect the dogs, although the court also heard their health issues had started before they were moved.
Fouracre, who had been advertising bulldog puppies for sale since 2017, admitted nine animal welfare offences.
Lewis, who tried to sell the puppies on Facebook the month before the offences came to light, pleaded guilty to four offences.
Fouracre and Lewis were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court (Picture: PA Archive/PA Images)
Their crimes included causing unnecessary suffering and not meeting animals’ needs.
Will Bebb, representing Lewis, said she had cared for a family dog for 12 years with no issues but found herself ‘struggling to cope’ with the puppies due to ‘the quantity of the dogs’ and her ‘active work schedule’.
Ruth Smith, representing Fouracre, said her client was in financial difficulty after losing his job during the pandemic, is now living with his parents and no longer wants to own animals.
The judge, recorder Ben Blakemore, said Fouracre and Lewis had been hoping to make a profit after keeping the dogs in ‘appalling’ and ‘disgusting’ conditions.
He sentenced Fouracre to a 22-week jail term suspended for 12 months and Lewis to 14 weeks suspended for the same period.
Fouracre must do 180 hours of unpaid work and 10 days of rehabilitation activity, and Lewis 120 hours of unpaid work and eight days of rehabilitation activity. Each must pay £4,000 towards prosecution costs.
Fouracre was banned from keeping animals for eight years but Lewis escaped a ban after the judge noted her ‘adequate’ care of two family dogs.
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Police seized 12 dogs in total with several suffering from health conditions.