The story of the abnormal puppy bought from a 'shifty' man who conned people across the country


Its owners always knew something was wrong, but have only recently found out the truth

When Rebecca Lugg went along to collect her new puppy, everything seemed as it should be.

They were told they couldn't meet the puppy's parents, but they accepted the reason why.

After all, everything else seemed normal. It looked like a wholesome family home, the sort of place you would like your new puppy to have started out in life.

"When we got to the property the puppy was inside his home," said Mrs Lugg, from Neath.

"I had spoke on the phone and was sent a picture of mum and dad, but when I got there they said they were locked away as they knew guests were coming.

"Me being over trustworthy, believed him as he had previously sent me the pictures."

"We'd gone along to this house, and it was a lovely house, log fire burning, vegetables on the table, it was all lovely and family orientated and we didn't think twice."

So they handed over the £390 payment for black labrador Kenny to 'breeder' Dylan Huw Thomas and headed home.

That was when the sheen of normality began to tarnish. Kenny was not a normal puppy.

"My lab is not normal," added Mrs Lugg.

"He is skinny and skitty and hyperactive.

"We are keeping an eye on his weight as we are worried about his ravenous appetite but the fact he doesn't put much weight on.

"He drinks a hell of a lot and it's ridiculous how much he poos, it's four or five times a day and it's not normal. He's very skitty, usually labs are really dull and docile but not with him."

Still they did not suspect the truth, until they saw the story on Wales Online that Thomas, of New Inn, Llandeilo, in Carmarthenshire had deliberately misled customers and sold severely ill puppies across the country.

He used altered documents and veterinary cards to cover the trail of his fraudulent behaviour, selling puppies that required urgent medical treatment. One chocolate labrador he sold had to be put down.

Adverts would state that the puppies for sale were raised on a property among family and children, when in reality it was difficult to prove where they came from, the court heard.

He told customers that the puppy’s mother was “under the weather” when quizzed about her whereabouts.

Carmarthenshire Council began to take action when several people contacted it to express concern that the animals they had bought were in poor health and that Thomas appeared “nervous” and “shifty”.

A Trading Standards investigation was launched and due to what was called “overwhelming evidence”, Thomas pleaded guilty to 14 separate offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.

At Swansea Crown Court, on December 20, the 59-year-old was forced to pay £215,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act and given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for his actions.

Mrs Lugg added: "My husband spotted the story at around midnight, and said to me, 'Have you seen this article'. We took a closer look at the address and it was the same one we went to.

"I was gutted, I was mad at myself.

"My concern now is whether he has had the sufficient amount of vaccinations, whether he has had one in the past and whether or not that has run its course. We're concerned for his welfare."

Kenny is now seven months old and his owners have their fingers crossed for him.

"We've taken him to the vets a number of times and so far, touch wood, everything has come back fine, and he is starting to grow slowly."

Following the case, Carmarthenshire Council urged people to be vigilant when purchasing a puppy to avoid funding the illegal dog breeding trade.

It said the mother and puppy should be visible at the place of breeding and that documents should be thoroughly checked and concerns raised with veterinary practices and local authorities.

Some dogs are raised at so-called puppy farms where the animals are bred on a large scale, often with very questionable welfare standards.

The UK Government has announced it is to ban unethical puppy and kitten farms, and the Welsh Government may follow suit.

The ban will mean anyone looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten in England must either deal directly with the breeder or with one of the nation’s many animal rehoming centres.

This step follows a commitment by the Prime Minister to crack down on cruel puppy farms, bringing an end to the grisly conditions found in puppy farming and tackle a range of existing animal welfare issues.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We are currently looking at the possibility of banning the sale of kittens and puppies via third parties in Wales.

"In the meantime we continue to endorse the work of the Pet Advertising Advisory Council covering issues such as the responsible advertising and sourcing of all pets, including kittens."