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Illegal dog breeder jailed at Cardiff Magistrates Court

Christopher May, 32, from Kewstoke Avenue, Llanrumney, Cardiff, has been sentenced to 16 weeks in prison at Cardiff Magistrates' Court for illegal dog breeding, animal mutilation, causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and illegal importation of dogs.

July 22nd, 2021

As well as the immediate custodial sentence, Mr May was fined £1,200; ordered to pay £9,775 in costs; disqualified from owningIllegal dog breeder animals for eight years, and a legal order was imposed against him that eight puppies and eight dogs could be legally confiscated and re-homed.

The case came to light through an anonymous email from a member of the public to the Shared Regulatory Services, claiming that Mr May was breeding dogs illegally by selling American Bully puppies through Facebook without a dog breeder's licence, through the name of ‘Bulletproof Bullies'.

An online search for Christopher May and ‘Bulletproof Bullies' found that American Bully puppies were openly for sale on a Facebook page, without any security settings in place.

A search warrant was carried out at Mr May's property on December 17th 2020 and there were five breeding female dogs at the address, as well as eight puppies. Christopher May could not provide any passports for three of his adult dogs and six out of the eight puppies seized had recently had their ears cropped - which is a form of animal mutilation and was confirmed by a vet afterwards. The three dogs that didn't have passports and the eight puppies were seized by officers.

Following further investigations, all three adult dogs seized from his property were microchipped but passports were not provided for the animals. Two of the dogs were registered to an address in Spain and had been imported into the UK illegally.

A passport was then provided for one of the dogs after the search warrant was carried out, so one of the dogs was returned to Mr May immediately. The other two dogs registered to an address in Spain were also returned after they had carried out the required quarantine period in kennels.

IMG-20201218-WA0004Mr May claimed in interview that he sold the puppies between £1,000 and £5,000 each, depending on their pedigree and ‘bone structure' - with a turnover of £30,000 made in 2019/20 alone. Mr May also claimed that the puppies that were seized during the search warrant at his property were not bred by him, as he had recently bought the entire litter from a seller in London for a total of £3,000. The seller's details were not provided and no vaccination records or paperwork could be provided for the sale.

Christopher May had five breeding female dogs at his property when the search warrant took place, which means since 2015, he is required to have a dog breeders licence to run his business.

Following further investigations with a number of veterinary practices, the scope of the illegal trading became clear - as between 2014 and 2020 - Mr May had 67 dogs registered at one local veterinary practice alone.

May was sentenced to a total of 16 weeks in custody with immediate effect; he was also fined £1,200 and ordered to pay costs of £9,775. The District Judge also banned May from keeping animals for a period of 8 years, and no application can be made for this to be revoked for a period of 5 years.  

In addition, an order was made to deprive May of the 8 puppies that were seized at his property on the day of the warrant, as well as the 8 adult dogs that were present (5 bitches and 3 males). These adult dogs are to be released into the care of the Local Authority within 28 days of May’s release from custody. Finally, a £120 victim surcharge was also imposed.

Cllr Michael Michael, Cabinet Member responsible for Shared Regulatory Services said: "These laws are in place for a reason, to protect animals so they do not go through unnecessary suffering. Some may say that he only bred a few dogs to make ends meet, but through our investigations, it has become clear that this was a commercial operation. He was living a luxury lifestyle, owned his own house, drove a very nice car without a regular job, which indicates the scale of his ill-gotten gains.

"What has also become clear is that in a space of six years, Mr May registered 67 dogs to one veterinary alone. Mr May admitted in interview that if the dog's ears are cropped, the dogs were more marketable and received a higher price from his customers.

"It is cruel and will not be tolerated, and I can assure the residents of Cardiff that our staff will continue to follow up on any intelligence received on all matters relating to animal cruelty or illegal dog sales."