Vet banned from keeping dogs in horror farm case

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The Independent Online
A vet who kept 100 dogs in horrific conditions at an illegal puppy farm was yesterday banned from owning and breeding dogs for seven years.

Helen Hein, 69, of Newlands Corner, Surrey, was jostled by animal rights protesters as she left after the two day trial at Farnham magistrates court.

Hein admitted she had bred German shepherds at a house where three inches of dog faeces were found caked to the floor. Many of the animals had suffered appalling injuries and deformities, leaving some without eyes and swollen heads.

The court was told that she still has 50 to 60 dogs at her country cottage even though an expert has said she is only capable of looking after 30 dogs. The dogs will now be found new homes by the RSPCA.

Hein, a former research vet for the Ministry of Agriculture, had originally denied 19 charges, brought by the RSPCA, of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs. Yesterday she admitted eight charges of causing unnecessary suffering and another charge of breeding and selling dogs without a licence.

RSPCA inspectors brought the charges after visiting her home six times in 1994 and last year. Alan Kurtz, for the prosecution, said every room was covered in excrement and filth and was over-run by scores of dogs which had gone wild."They were living in deplorable conditions, wholly unsuitable, unsanitary, squalid, deep in excrement and urine and other residue," he said. "The fact the defendant is a qualified vet only makes the matter worse."

The court watched videos filmed at the house and in one shocking scene dogs were shown lapping at condensation on windows because they had no water to drink.

Dominic Webber, for the defence, said Hein had not been deliberately cruel. "Her problems were caused by over-population . . . Every minute of every hour of every day was devoted to trying to keep those dogs in the best possible condition but it was not humanely possible."

Hein, who was also fined pounds 250 with pounds 250 costs, plans to appeal against her sentence.