Illegal dog breeder Alison Bransby kept 40 animals in squalor at a Midland farmhouse

RSPCA Birmingham assisted by a number of the charity’s fosterers, took in the animals along with other centres to help them find new homes

An illegal dog breeder who made hundreds of thousands of pounds while cruelly keeping more than 40 animals living in squalor at a farmhouse has been jailed.

Alison Bransby, 61, kept dogs and puppies in wooden sheds and kennels which were barely the size of a rabbit hutch at her home in Tilstock, Shropshire. The RSPCA and police raided her property in February last year and discovered 41 suffering animals, including 35 dogs, living in appalling conditions.

Two cats, a horse, a lamb, a terrapin and an African grey parrot were also seized from White House Farm by investigating officers. RSPCA Birmingham helped to rehome some of the animals following the raids.

A court heard Bransby had raked in £150,000 in just a year from illegally breeding and selling puppies alongside her radiographer daughter Kayleigh Bransby, 31.

The mother and daughter ran the ‘extensive’ commercial operation and advertised the enterprise online while ‘putting profit ahead of their animal’s health’.

A Shropshire woman has been sent to prison for 22 weeks after running an illegal dog breeding business which caused dozens of animals to suffer and made her £150,000

Bransby pleaded guilty to 17 animal welfare offences relating to 27 dogs, eight puppies, two cats, a horse, a lamb, a terrapin and an African grey parrot.

She was jailed for 22 weeks at Kidderminster Magistrates Court last Thursday (6/10), disqualified from keeping all animals for life and ordered to pay costs of £44,000.

Her daughter admitted nine animal welfare offences and was handed an 11 week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months. She was also banned from keeping animals for ten years and ordered to pay cost of £20,0000.

District Judge Ian Strongman said Bransby had been aware for a long time that she couldn’t cope and she knew there were organisations that could assist.

He added that although the cruelty was not deliberate, it had ‘occurred over a prolonged period of time’ and it was ‘obvious the animals were clearly suffering’.

Shocking photographs released by the animal charity after the case shows the cramped and filthy pens which the animals were forced to live in. The court was told an investigation was launched following complaints from members of the public who had bought puppies and dogs from the farm which later became ill.

A Shropshire woman has been sent to prison for 22 weeks after running an illegal dog breeding business which caused dozens of animals to suffer and made her £150,000

RSPCA investigators found dozens of other neglected and poorly animals at the property, which a vet said had been inadequately cared for for at least nine months.

Among them was a blind and deaf Cavalier King Charles called Teddy, believed to have been used for breeding, curled up in a plastic bed in the corner of the dark kitchen. The elderly, emaciated dog had one tooth left in his mouth and his fur was stained with urine. Such was the extent of his neglect that he was put to sleep on veterinary advice to prevent further suffering.

Eight puppies, born to a one-eyed mother dog, were found in an outdoor kennel block with no water whose basic standards of animal husbandry had not been met.

Another 15 dogs - some with significant underlying health conditions - lived in dark, cluttered and unhygienic conditions in the kitchen with limited access to water and bedding.

They also found two cats with significant ear disease, a lamb with lower eyelid trauma and ulcerations and a terrapin with a heavily deformed shell. An African grey parrot with extensive fur loss to his chest was found living in a filthy cage with a thick layer of dried faecal matter.

A thoroughbred mare called Ruby was also discovered with severely overgrown hooves that had not been treated for at least six months and teeth that had not been seen for two years.

A Shropshire woman has been sent to prison for 22 weeks after running an illegal dog breeding business which caused dozens of animals to suffer and made her £150,000

In her evidence, Kate Parker, the RSPCA inspector who led the warrant, said: “There were wooden sheds with stable type doors. Inside I could see a typical breeding set up for puppies, with a heat lamp angled over a plastic dog bed, an empty bowl and some soiled rags inside the bed.

“Inside a lean-to type construction there was a row of metal constructed kennels.

"There was a thin layer of sawdust on the concrete floor, clutter, household items and electrical cables dangling inside, accessible by the dogs housed in each.

“I offered Alison Bransby the opportunity to sign over animals she wished into the care of the RSPCA to assist in reducing numbers and ease difficulties in caring for them on site, to which she disagreed.”

Another RSPCA inspector, Mike Scargill, added: “The door to the house led into a very dark hallway where there was a cage on the left hand side containing an African Grey parrot.

“Excrement covered every surface of the cage and the bird showed signs of feather plucking around its chest area. The floor was wet underfoot and smelled strongly of urine. I then went into the kitchen area. The smell of urine in this area was quite overpowering and the floor was sticky to walk on.”

A Shropshire woman has been sent to prison for 22 weeks after running an illegal dog breeding business which caused dozens of animals to suffer and made her £150,000

A vet said that none of the animals were provided with a suitable environment and insufficient steps had been taken to protect them from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

The vet added: “It was abundantly clear from the layout of the property, the dogs present, the previous advertisements and the presence of puppies that the property was being used as a dog breeding establishment, which was unlicensed.

“As such the dogs should have been housed in accommodation consistent with a licensed breeding establishment, which makes specific requirements in relation to space provision, as well as the materials from which the kennels are constructed.

“The external kennels and pens that the dogs were being housed in fell far short of the licensing standards and hence it is my expert opinion that the environmental provisions for the dogs were unsuitable for their needs.”

In mitigation, the court heard that Alison Bransby was suffering from physical and mental health issues during the time of the offences. Her daughter had moved into the farm to help look after her mother and the animals in January 2021, but acknowledged that they were not being cared for properly.

A Shropshire woman has been sent to prison for 22 weeks after running an illegal dog breeding business which caused dozens of animals to suffer and made her £150,000

RSPCA animal centres in Leicester, Birmingham and Aylesbury, assisted by a number of the charity’s fosterers, took in the animals. All but three have since been rehomed. Sadly Ruby the horse and both cats were put to sleep on veterinary advice to prevent further suffering.

Speaking after sentencing, inspector Ian Briggs from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: "We’d like to thank West Mercia police officers for their help and support with this long-running case and for their time and assistance on the day in what were difficult and upsetting conditions.

“This appalling case shows what can happen when breeders and sellers put profits ahead of the health and welfare of their dogs. Stud dogs used on puppy farms are not spoken about as much but Teddy was the saddest of examples.

“Blind and deaf, he’d been used all his life by the defendants for financial gain, yet in his final months he wasn’t even afforded the kindness of a comfortable resting place and had simply been forgotten about, just left to lie in his own urine.

“We’d always encourage anyone thinking of getting a puppy to adopt rather than buy, and to do lots of research first to ensure they source a dog responsibly and do not end up lining the pockets of irresponsible people who make money out of misery.”

PCSO Hannah Lister, from West Mercia Police, said: “West Mercia would like to thank the members of the public who came forward to express their concerns about the farm, and to the RSPCA for their help, support and guidance in securing the charges against Alison and Kayleigh Bransby.

"We want to send a clear message that if evidence emerges of people committing cruel offences against animals, we will work with our partners to bring them to justice.”

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