A CHARITY hit out yesterday after an illegal puppy farmer convicted of cruelty to 21 dogs was spared jail.
Welfare chiefs were horrified to find bags of decomposing dog remains and several animals which had been badly neglected when they raided Richard Samuel Morgan Jones’s home and buildings.
Others pups had been so neglected they showed signs of extreme mental suffering, while many were “close to death”, a court heard.
But the 31-year-old, of Llanwnnen, mid-Wales, escaped with just a series of nine-week suspended prison sentences and will not spend any time behind bars unless he re-offends.
Ronnie Lambert, of campaign group Puppy Love Campaigns, said: “It is a very weak sentence and it wouldn’t deter any puppy farmers in Wales from doing the same. I cannot believe it. It’s absolutely shocking.
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“Whilst we are pleased he was prosecuted, we’re deeply disappointed that it took so long considering that we first reported the barn to Ceredigion County Council in 2011 and repeatedly raised our concerns until action was finally taken in June 2016.
“We don’t think justice has been done. Dogs could have been saved from needless suffering had action been taken sooner.
“Nine weeks’ suspended sentence for such blatant cruelty is not justice.
It’s a total disgrace, betrayal of man’s best friend and perpetual shame of Wales.”
Some of Jones’ dogs had such severe skin conditions that they were verging on sepsis and gangrene.
Photographs of the squalid conditions and neglected animals sparked fury when they emerged online.
Jones was prosecuted by Ceredigion County Council following raids by council and police officers at his home and a site at Y Shed near Lampeter in June last year, where they found 113 dogs altogether.
Last month at Aberystwyth Justice Centre, Jones was convicted of two counts of illegal dog breeding and 21 counts of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs
Appearing at the same court on Thursday, Jones was sentenced to seven nine-week custodial sentences, 13 six-week custodial sentences, and one three-week custodial sentence, to run concurrently and suspended for 18 months.
He was banned from keeping, owning, or participating in owning dogs for a period of four years.
Defending Jones, Counsel Matthew Paul told the court his client was the “breadwinner” of the family farm following the death of his father, and that when the council decided not to renew his licence to breed dogs in 2015, it had “quite a strong effect on him”.
Around the time of the council’s search of the kennels, Mr Paul said Jones had started to suffer with clinical depression, which impeded his ability to properly care for the dogs.
But Mr Paul added that Jones had since “responded well” to treatment for his depression and was capable of caring for dogs again.
The court was also told the defendant had been subject to a series of threats of attacks on social media.
Ceredigion council declined to comment.