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Judge postpones City Council’s sentencing of puppy breeding offenses until next summer – Gloucestershire News Service

A Gloucester councilor who has admitted running an illegal puppy farm should face a fact-finding hearing to determine how well the dogs were cared for, a judge has ruled.

Alastair Chambers, 41, of Manor Way, Quedgeley, Gloucester, was convicted earlier this year of breeding and selling dogs from his farm.

He was subsequently found not guilty by a circuit judge on three counts of fraud for his role in selling the puppies.

Speaking at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday (November 24), defense counsel Matthew Harbinson said Chambers was concerned he might be convicted on alleged social charges with which he has not been charged.

“The position is that Chambers admitted to the offenses of breaking the law because he was not licensed as a puppy breeder. He has not and has made no admission that the animals in his care suffered or were mistreated,” the attorney said.

“When he submitted his pleading, he didn’t realize that this would be the consequence. A significant amount has been invested in hiring veterinarians to oversee the site.”

Judge Ian Lawrie KC commented that the full situation will be considered as part of the sentencing process.

However, Mr Harbinson asked the judge if he could hire a specialist to assess the situation, as he disagreed with the conclusions of the expert hired by prosecutors.

The judge agreed, saying a fact finding hearing would be held in court on June 1, 2023. Chambers will be sentenced upon the conclusion of this “Newton” hearing.

At a previous hearing, the court was told that in July 2020 Gloucester City Council had received a report from a member of the public concerning unlicensed dog breeding and puppy sales.

Police then executed a search warrant and found 25 to 30 dogs in three polytunnel-style buildings.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson said Chambers sold dozens of puppies, some worth up to £2,500, adding: “The vet did not have to visit the premises but was shown photos of what was going on there.”

The court also set a timeline for the formal confiscation of the dogs, to be completed at the same hearing in June.

Chambers is currently an independent member of both Gloucester City Council and Gloucestershire County Council, having been elected to both bodies as a Conservative candidate last year.

THIS REPORT IS THE COPYRIGHT OF THE GLOUCESTERSHIRE NEWS SERVICE AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF GNS.

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