Irish members of an international dog smuggling ring have been jailed in the UK for their role in a cruel scam that sold sick and dying dogs to unsuspecting customers.
Several members of the Cawley family, from County Armagh, were among the 13 people charged with their involvement in the scam to extract money from innocent dog lovers.
The international smuggling ring grossed â¬ 350,000 ($ 410,000) from the scam, leading unsuspecting families to shell out thousands of pounds in vet fees after unwittingly buying sick dogs.
In some cases, owners observed that their new dog got sick before they even got home, while some dogs were so sick that they couldn’t survive.
Aylesbury Crown Court has heard that the gang are bringing several dogs into the UK from Ireland every day and using fake names to place ads and get families to buy a sick dog.
Judge Francis Sheridan this week convicted 13 members of the gang at Aylesbury Crown Court, including members of the Cawley family, calling the scam “disgusting”.
“You have all played your part in this disgusting trade and enjoyed the kindness of British citizens,” Sheridan said in a two-day sentencing hearing this week.
âNone of the defendants in this case should ever be licensed to breed animals.
“The effects mentioned in this case cannot be regarded by the public as anything other than utterly heinous.”
Earlier, prosecutor Hazel Stevens told Sheridan that families who bought dogs “naturally got excited” to later find out their new pets were seriously ill.
âMany people who bought a puppy naturally became enthusiastic and invested time and emotion as well as money in their puppy. . ”
The judge also learned how the Cawleys, who now live in Milton Keynes, used frontman Daniel Yeboah to place ads under false names in order to attract unsuspecting families.
Kimberly Duffy, who bought a Shih Tzu puppy from the gang, described the effects of the scam on her family in a harrowing victim impact statement.
She revealed that her family spent more than $ 1,500 on their Barnaby puppy, including the purchase price of the dog from the gang and the resulting vet bills. She also said that on several nights she stayed awake all night trying to feed the puppy with her partner and that her 11-year-old son woke up one morning to find the dog was not breathing.
Several members of the Cawley family were given lengthy prison terms for their involvement in the scam, Joseph Cawley Sr., 44, and John Cawley, 24, both from the Willen Caravan Site in Buckinghamshire, listening respectively 45 and 44 months in prison.
Yeboah also received a 44-month prison sentence, while Joseph Cawley Jr., who was a youth when the offenses occurred, received a community order that will last 24 months.
Michael Cawley, meanwhile, was jailed for 27 months, while John O’Brien, 49, received a 13-month sentence.
O’Brien’s wife Wendy and Michael Cawley’s wife Mary-Ward Jackson both received suspended sentences for their involvement in the smuggling ring.
Annalize Cawley was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years in addition to being required to complete 20 days of re-education and 150 hours of unpaid work.
James Yeboah and Rebecca Hall were also given suspended sentences during the two-day sentencing hearing.
Sheridan told the court he would do what he could to reimburse the families affected by the scam.