A couple of ‘distinguished’ dog breeders have been ordered to pay £400,000 by a judge for forcing animals to remain pregnant for at least six years.
Karl Shellard, 43, and Victoria Shellard, 40, set up the unlicensed business called ‘PosherBulls’ at their country home selling puppies for up to £20,000 at a time, Crown Court has heard Cardiff.
The couple forced the breeding female dogs to give more than one litter a year, in violation of animal welfare laws, the court heard. They raised at least 67 litters in six years – with a dog named Coco giving six litters over a four-year period.
The Shellards were both fined £19,000 and ordered to pay back £372,531 – or face two years in jail. They were also ordered to pay court costs of £43,775.
They have earned up to £372,000 selling bulldog puppies to customers via website and social media adverts – and have over £1million in assets. The court heard the couple were repeatedly asked to apply for a license from the Vale of Glamorgan council, but ignored the authorities.
Prosecutor Tim Evans said the Shellards claimed to be “experienced breeders” and “distinguished leaders of bulldogs of all colors”.
Karl Shellard claimed he didn’t send in the license application because they had been trying to sell their house and would need to change their address. He admitted to having practiced dog breeding for six years when he did not have a license.
Victoria Shellard said she would sell puppies for between £1,500 and £20,000. The pair admitted to breeding back to back – where the dogs had delivered more than one litter over a 12 month period.
The court heard the crimes took place between 2014 and 2020 – with information about caesarean sections showing 43 litters were delivered in just one year. An investigation found that the Shellards had tried to evade authorities by using “shareholding agreements”, where they paid other people to officially own or house the dogs.
The couple pleaded guilty to raising dogs without a license and to nine counts of failing to provide for the needs of a protected animal for which they were responsible. Investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act found they had earned £372,531 illegally but had available assets of £1,041,714.
Heath Edwards, defending, said the company had become “nationally and internationally recognized” for the quality of dogs that were “healthy and of unquestionable pedigree”.
Judge David Wynn Morgan said: ‘You run a puppy farm and you do it to make money, and you have indeed made a lot of money.
“You could have run a hugely profitable business if you had been properly registered, but you are going to pay the price for this madness.”
The couple have three months to pay or receive 24 months in prison.