Kent Dog Breeder banned

A dog breeder who kept animals in ``squalid and truly appalling'' conditions has been banned from keeping animals for life, the RSPCA said on Thursday

Melanie King, 56, was also given a suspended prison sentence after inspectors found more than 70 dogs of various breeds living in squalor at her business.

Some of the animals had untreated medical conditions and were living on soiled and damp bedding at Whents Farm, Lower Road, Teynham, Kent, on February 26 last year.

King was convicted yesterday at Sittingbourne Magistrates' Court to offences including causing unnecessary suffering to a female border terrier.

It was suffering from such serious dental problems caused by an abscess in her mouth that some of her teeth had to be subsequently removed by a vet.

King was also convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a female red Chow Chow dog who was effectively blinded in both eyes by a condition called entropion.

It was later put to sleep by a vet. King was cleared of three counts of failing to provide dogs with adequate nutrition.

She was sentenced to 140 days in prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and pay #250 in costs, the RSPCA said.

Today, RSPCA inspector Ray Bailey said: ``Melanie King was totally irresponsible. She had been given previous warnings, but failed to take action to safeguard the animals' welfare.

``The conditions many of the dogs were kept in were squalid and truly appalling.

``We are delighted that the court has recognised the seriousness of the offences and banned her from keeping all animals for the rest of her life. We couldn't have asked for any more.

``Anyone who is thinking of buying a puppy should always ask plenty of questions and visit the breeder to see the puppies with their mother in the place where they were born.

``Buying puppies from irresponsible breeders is simply fuelling the market.''

The RSPCA said King was previously sentenced to a lifetime ban on breeding dogs after she admitted 24 offences under Section 1 of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, following a case by Swale Borough Council.

She had been operating on a temporary breeding licence after concerns were raised about conditions at her establishment.

However, she had failed to deal with the hygiene issues reported by the council officers when the warrant was executed in February 2009.