A man and a woman who left seven puppies dead and dying in a wheelbarrow have been banned from keeping dogs for life, the RSPCA have said.
John Wilcock, 36, and Bernadette Nunney, 25, were also handed suspended sentences for animal cruelty offences relating to dozens of dogs found in squalid conditions at a farm in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Police and the RSPCA launched an investigation last year following calls from members of the public who had bought puppies, which later became ill.
The pair were charged after animal welfare inspectors raided the farm on Tyersal Lane in September 2015 and seized a large number of dogs.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said the officers came across the wheelbarrow of apparently dead collie puppies during the raid but discovered one of the dogs was still alive. It was rushed to vets but later died.
Post-mortem examinations found the puppies had died from parvovirus.
Emma Ellis, and RSPCA inspector, said: “What I saw that day will stay with me forever.
“The sight of the live puppy buried within the pile of dead puppies was heartbreaking. There was nothing we could do to save her.
“The way those puppies were left to die highlights how these people simply see them as commodities which I find totally unacceptable.”
Dozens more dogs were being kept in stables and kennel blocks. Many had no food, water or bedding and all were living in their own filth, the spokeswoman said.
Inspectors found 43 dogs, including collies, spaniels, bichon frises, Labradors, beagles, Chihuahuas, and some terrier-cross types, most of which were seized by the police and placed into the RSPCA’s care.
Wilcock and Nunney were accused of causing unnecessary suffering to the seven puppies and three other dogs and failing to meet the needs of 30 dogs.
Farm manager Wilcock, of Sticker Lane, Bradford, admitted five offences and Nunney, of Tyersal Lane, Bradford was found guilty of six offences after a four-day trial.
They were each sentenced at Leeds Magistrates’ Court to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and disqualified from keeping dogs for life.
Nunney was also handed a 12-week curfew order, ordered to complete a 15-day rehabilitation activity, and ordered to pay £500 in costs.
Wilcock was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity. He was also ordered to pay £100 in costs.