A Poole man has been prosecuted for illegal dog breeding following a two-year investigation led by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, marking the first successful conviction by the authority in bringing an unlicensed breeder to justice.

Ian Rosenborg, 59, was found guilty of breeding three or more litters of English Bulldog, French Bulldog and Cocker Spaniel puppies during a 12-month period, as well as selling them without a licence under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations Act 2018.

Rosenborg was sentenced to two months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, during a hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court.

He was also told he would have to repay the money he benefitted from through his illegal activity – a sum totalling £53,260, of which £10,500 will need to be settled within a three-month period governed by a court order, with any defaults on these payments resulting in six months imprisonment.

The successful prosecution follows an extensive investigation between 11 October 2019 and 5 July 2022 by BCP Council, working alongside Dorset Police’s Rural Crimes Team, the RSPCA, and Trading Standards, where a warrant was issued to search his Hamworthy property in July 2021.

It was during this warrant execution by the respective authorities that Rosenberg was found to be housing a total of 50 dogs and five litters of puppies.

New licensing regulations have given local authorities more powers to prosecute unlicensed breeders in recent times, with councils previously relying heavily on old legislation such as The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999.

However, it is often extremely challenging when it comes to proving acts of unlicensed breeding, as it’s solely reliant on initial complaints coming forward, which form the basis of an investigation.

In this case, once the initial reports were received, Dorset Police instigated their entry warrant, general welfare checks were carried out by the RSPCA, and the council’s Animal Welfare Officers were able to investigate the unlawful breeding activities carried out at Rosenberg’s premises.

Trading Standards provided the financial investigation that ultimately led to this successful prosecution.

Councillor Kieron Wilson, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regulatory Services at BCP Council, said: “This successful prosecution has been the culmination of lots of hard work from BCP Council and partner agencies over a lengthy period with the importance of animal welfare at its forefront, highlighting just how seriously we take this type of illegal activity.

“We’ll continue to investigate all reports of unlicensed dog breeding and come down hard on those who fail to adhere to the rules, treating these crimes in the same way as other fraudulent or acquisitive offences.

“We hope this sentencing acts as a deterrent to others and encourages everyone to follow the official protocols.”

Police Constable Sebastian Haggett, of the Dorset Rural Crime Team, said: “The welfare of dogs and puppies should always be the priority for any buyer or breeder.

“Unlicensed breeders go unmonitored, which can mean that welfare standards are not always maintained, much to the detriment of the animals involved.

“The result of this investigation is a good example of joint partnership working between BCP Council, the RSPCA, Trading Standards and Dorset Police, and I hope the sentence serves as a deterrent to those who illegally breed animals.”

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