Dog breeder sent to jail

A dog breeder who docked the tails of Rottweiler puppies and forced them to live in their own excrement has been jailed.

Tony Sims, 31, of London Road, Hailsham, was sentenced to 16 weeks after a hearing in Hastings yesterday.

Sims, who fed his pack of 20 dogs raw rabbits because he considered it 'natural', was prosecuted by the RSPCA after the dogs were seized during a raid at his home on April 25 last year.

Prosecutor David Buck said Sims illegally docked the puppies' tails causing pain and suffering. Sims claimed the tails were docked 'humanely' leaving 'just a scab'.

RSPCA inspector Cora Moore told the court, "There were large sores on the end.

"I have never seen a professionally docked tail that looked like that."

And veterinary surgeon Julian Peters, who visited Sims' home with RSPCA inspectors and police officers during a raid on April 25, 2007, said the animals were 'in poor bodily condition' and kept in darkened rooms.

He said, "There was a strong smell of ammonia and the carpet was damp to the point of sodden in some places.

"The pups must have been in there for a considerable period - I would says days, possibly weeks due to the amount of faeces and urine present in the room."

Sims was found guilty after a trial and, as well as the jail sentence, he will also be banned from having anything to do with dogs for four months.

Magistrates had the option of disqualifying Sims from breeding dogs for life but chose to restrict the ban to just four months.

Police have also been instructed to seize the dogs kept at Sims' family home.

Magistrates told Sims his lack of co-operation had left them with little option but to jail him.

Chair of the bench, Jean Wells, said, "There's no other way to deal with you. The aggravating factors were an unwillingness to comply with police, the large numbers and young ages of the dogs involved, and the fact you showed no remorse."

Chief Inspector Patrick Hamdy of the RSPCA said, "We are satisfied with the judgement although we had hoped he would receive a longer disqualification.

"It is a reminder that docking tails is illegal and can only be done by a vet under certain regulations and not for cosmetic purposes."