FRAUDSTER Michaela George, who peddled more than 30 under-age puppies born in the Czech Republic as Pedigree breeds,walked free from Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The 35-year-old misled at least three consumers who responded to adverts on the internet to the heritage, origin and age of the puppies she was selling while raking in hundreds of pounds in sales.
As well as preventing her customers from being able to make an informed choice, George’s behaviour also put the general public at risk of catching rabies, since the dogs were not old enough to be vaccinated before being imported into the UK.
Rosie Heath, who represented Swindon Council in the prosecution against George, said: “Miss George has claimed that she didn’t receive money for the sale for the puppies but that she did it on behalf of her brother, but she has admitted that on one occasion she herself imported the puppies.
“By doing so she has raised the risk of rabies in the UK.”
George, who lives in Penhill Drive, admitted failing to disclose she is a trader, implying the puppies were born in the UK when they weren’t, and misleading consumers so they were unable to make an informed decision.
She was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work with 12 months of supervision with the Probation Service.
The magistrates’ court also ordered George to pay £750 in costs to the prosecution and to pay a £60 victim surcharge.
George sold the dogs from her property in Penhill Drive and from an address in Stanton Fitzwarren after advertising the dachshunds and Bernese Mountain dogs on the internet, claiming that they were members of the kennel club and pedigree breeds, and selling them for more than £500 each.
One such victim was Katie Osbourne who bought a dachshund from George’s advert on www.pets4homes.co.uk George told Miss Osbourne that the puppies were born in the UK and were pedigree dogs, but when Miss Osbourne took the puppy to the vet and it was scanned the dog was found to have a micro-chip from the Czech Republic and was too young to have received vaccinations against rabies.
As a result Miss Osbourne was forced to pay extensive costs for quarantining the puppy.
Tony Nowogrodzki, of BLB Solicitors, represented George in the case.
He said: “Miss George is a 35-year-old woman who has a 10-year-old child and she is a good and dutiful mother.
“She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was required to have a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“Because she is from the Czech Republic she was not entitled to benefits and she took out a loan of £5,000.”
She then made an agreement with her brother that she would sell the puppies in return for him paying her rent.