Cruel father and son bred dog to death at Morayshire puppy farm

A father and son caught running a puppy farm where dogs were over-bred and neglected have been banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Samuel Hessin, 48, and his son, also Samuel, 22, both pled guilty to a string of charges over the treatment of dogs at their farm at Balnamoon at Crossroads near Keith in Morayshire.

During a raid, inspectors from the Scottish SPCA (SSPCA) removed 56 dogs including a number of pregnant ones

One died giving birth at a Scottish SPCA rescue centre after her third pregnancy of the year.

Witnesses who went to the Hessin farmhouse in September 2019 to look at a puppy advertised on Gumtree said it was “filthy and smelt filthy” and later contacted the SSPCA.

Inspectors, trading standards officers and Police Scotland jointly searched the farm under Operation Delphin, finding mainly Labradors and Staffordshire bull terriers.

A Scottish SPCA special investigations unit inspector involved in the case said “These dogs were kept in horrendous conditions which were ripe for causing horrific disease and suffering. After we seized them, vets found many were suffering from a host of skin, eye and respiratory diseases.

"Many dogs were carrying wounds consistent with kennel fights and we are in no doubt this was due to the stress caused by the conditions these poor animals were kept in.

Two of the Staffordshire bull terriers kept in a filthy pen at the puppy farm Pic: SSPCA

“The stench of urine, lack of proper bedding and the amount of faeces on the floors and even in amongst what small amount of food was out, clearly showed there was no regard for the welfare of these dogs. This site was clearly a low-welfare puppy farm."

He added: “Two of the female dogs were pregnant when they came in to our care. Sadly, the birth was just too much for one of them and she passed away during labour. We believe she had been badly overbred and it was her third litter in just one year.”

Moray Trading Standards seized phones and paperwork during the search which showed that between December 3 2018 and September 19 2019 Hessin senior had placed multiple adverts on Gumtree and Freeads under various email addresses and contact names.

He used 18 different names and mobile numbers, 11 email addresses and three separate locations so buyers would think they were buying family pets when the authorities said they were “actually buying puppies, many imported from Northern Ireland, from a puppy farm”.

Some of the dogs were kept in tiny, cramped cages Pic: SSPCA

Three puppies, named Tiree, Calla and Danna were suffering from chronic skin conditions, with Danna also requiring surgery for an eye condition. Another dog, Scarba, was suffering from fractured teeth, an infected neck laceration and an ear mite infestation.

The Hessins formally relinquished ownership of all but four of the dogs to the SSPCA in October 2019.

Hessin senior pled guilty to running an unlicensed pet shop which put up for sale more than 100 dogs and for failing to provide a suitable environment for the dogs and puppies.

His son admitted an offence involving misleading commercial practices and causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate care and treatment and obtain veterinary advice.

A heavily pregnant Staffie - most of the dogs were bred repeatedly, causing one to die Pic: SSPCA

Both men were given a Community Payback Order requiring them to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and placing them under supervision for 18 months.

They were also banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Several of the dogs had eye infections, skin mites and were filthy and undernourished Pic: SSPCA
Happy ending: While one of the 56 dogs died after giving birth for the third time in a year, the survivors were all cared for by the SSPCA and found new homes Pic: SSPCA
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