Three unscrupulous backyard breeders have been sentenced to 25 weeks in jail after investigators discovered a number of dogs — including two puppies, buried alive — on their property.
James Perks, his wife Lorraine Perks, and the couple’s housemate Stephen Jenkins of Tamworth, Staffordshire, England, had pleaded guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty at an earlier hearing.
Because their crime was so horrific, chairman of the bench Peter Rolfe told The Huffington Post, “If we could have we would have jailed them for far longer.”
Footage of the investigation at the center of the case was released earlier this week.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) joined police officers in investigating the Perks’ property August 25 after receiving a tip from a woman who had recently purchased a puppy from the couple. The whistleblower alerted police after her puppy died only days after leaving the Perks’ home.
When RSPCA investigators and police officers explored the property, they found nine adult dogs and 15 puppies living in squalor, covered in their own waste — some shoved into small rabbit hutches in the backyard.
The investigation didn’t stop there, as the RSPCA video shows, and the officers would never expect what they found next.
Two newborn Jack Russell Terrier puppies were discovered beneath a patch of soil in the back garden. As investigators removed the soil, they heard whimpering, realizing to their horror that the puppies were still breathing.
“The police officer has just uncovered a puppy that’s been buried in the garden — buried alive,” said a shocked RSPCA inspector. “Oh my goodness me. She’s found it buried alive.”
Sadly, due to the extent of the dehydration the puppies suffered, they had to be euthanized.
Veterinarian Steve Odell, who humanely euthanized the gravely injured pups, calls the scene “one of the most horrific ever witnessed.”
RSPCA Inspector Jayne Bashford hopes that this case will serve as a lesson to the public. “No matter how many years I work for the RSPCA this day will remain one which I will never forget,” Bashford said in a statement.
“All who attended on the day were shocked to the core…I hope this case will make people think before they respond to an advert in a newspaper, a card in a newsagents, or an Internet site advertising puppies as your actions could contribute to fund similar irresponsible dog breeders.”