Owner of largest puppy farm jailed for animal abuse

Frank James and Michelle Wood caused dogs, ferrets and rabbits suffering in Aberdeenshire.

Frank James and Michelle Wood
Frank James and Michelle Wood

A man who abused animals at Scotland’s largest puppy farm has been jailed.

Frank James, from Banff, and Michelle Wood, of Macduff, caused dogs, ferrets and rabbits suffering at East Mains of Ardlogie Farm near Fyvie in Aberdeenshire.

James was jailed for nine months and banned from owning animals for life while Wood was given 300 hours unpaid work and placed under supervision for two years.

Wood was also banned from keeping animals for ten years during the pair’s sentencing on Wednesday.

The Scottish SPCA and police raided the farm in November 2017, removing 105 animals including 87 dogs, the youngest being a few days old.

Both James, 53, and 29-year-old Wood used a burnt out van to dispose of dead puppies, with carcasses found inside.

Farm: 105 animals were removed from the farm in November 2017.

The animals were taken to Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centres for treatment and rehabilitation.

An undercover investigator for the Scottish SPCA described the conditions as “absolutely disgraceful”.

The investigator said: “We believe this was the largest scale puppy farming operation in Scotland.

“The conditions these dogs were being kept in were absolutely disgraceful. It fell far below the minimum standard in terms of animal welfare and, given the environment and sheer volume of puppies, it was immediately evident these were not being kept as pets and the premises was effectively a battery farm for pups.

Squalor: Dogs were being kept in ‘absolutely disgraceful’ conditions.

“Our investigation revealed dogs on site were being intensively bred with little to no regard for their welfare.

“On site, we found a burnt out van which had dog carcasses within, suggesting this was a means of disposing dead pups.”

James first came to the attention of the Scottish SPCA in March 2013 when an investigation led to more than 70 dogs being seized from the same address.

Inspectors found cattle sheds packed with breeding bitches and dogs suffering with lice, skin sores, matted hair and cysts on their paws due to the floor being covered in faeces.

Following the investigation, James’ and two of his relatives pleaded guilty to welfare offences in October 2014.

Frank James and his brother were banned from keeping more than two dogs for the next three years.

Based on reports to the charity’s animal helpline, the Scottish SPCA believe James’ flouted this ban to continue selling puppies.

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