A distraught woman today pleaded with a Sheffield council committee to not remove her dog breeding licence, which is being reviewed following convictions against herself and her partner for illegally importing docked puppies.
Carmen Pintea, 37, who said she lost her job as a social worker because of the conviction, claimed at the Licensing Sub-Committee meeting today that she did not know about the plans to dock and then import the dogs.
In January Ms Pintea, of Barbarian Corso Kennel, pleaded guilty of failing to notify the Secretary of State of an import of three puppies. She was fined £120 and ordered to pay £800 towards the Council’s costs.
At the same hearing, her partner, Claudiu Belceanu, 43, pleaded guilty to illegally importing the dogs, and arranging for their docking and ear cropping.
Ms Pintea asked the committee not to punish her twice for the same mistake and said the business is her only means of providing for her children.
“What happened was not my fault,’ Ms Pintea said.
“It will never happen again. Nobody will ever make decisions in my place ever again.”
She also said she plans to appeal her conviction. She maintains that the dogs are pets, and she said she pleaded guilty to failing to notify the authorities, which is required for the commercial movement of dogs, because she was ill-advised.
Following today’s meeting the Sub-Committee will now decide whether Ms Pintea can keep her breeding licence. The licence review and the convictions were prompted by an investigation into the pair’s activity by Sheffield City Council’s environmental protection service.
The investigation found Ms Pintea had breached several of the conditions of her breeding licence, including selling a dog she had not bred.
The investigation also raised concern over the rabies risk created by the imported puppies. Officers were originally told the puppies were imported from Romania, where docking and cropping are both illegal, but underwent the procedures in nearby Serbia after being attacked by another dog. If this is true then rabies control measures will not have been met. Ms Pintea later claimed the puppies had not been moved to Serbia.
She today said the story about the attack was a lie her partner told her because he knew she wouldn’t like the truth.
She also claimed there was no health risk because she keeps every new arrival to her kennels separate from her dogs for 21 days, to check for disease.
“The dogs are my life,” she added.
Ms Pintea also challenged claims she was keeping more dogs than her licence allows for, saying she has more dogs than she is allowed to breed because she sometimes keeps them once retired.
Mark Parry, the council’s Environmental Enforcement Team Manager, said the court case shows it was right for this review to be called to examine the welfare of Ms Pintea’s dogs.
A decision is expected later today.