Guilty Plea entered in Dumped Dogs Trial
Emma Bent, owner of Peak Pet Cremations pleaded guilty to charges of fraudulently claiming to cremate six pets found dumped in a field in Lower Hartshay, near Ripley, in August 2009.
The pet owners were overcome with emotion when they heard the guilty pleas being entered at Derby Crown Court on Tuesday 18th January. Angela Moore, owner of Sam, one of the dogs found in the field said “I am so pleased that she (Bent) has finally admitted to her crimes but I still feel really angry that she could have admitted to it months ago and saved us going through all the extra trauma since then.”
Linda Allen, owner of Bournville, a border collie, received a casket of ashes from Peak Pet Cremations prior to being informed Bournville’s microchipped remains had been found in the field. She added “It was hard enough losing Bournville but to then be told that the ashes we had received were not his broke our hearts. This case has put so much strain on our family.”
Kevin Spurgeon, director of the APPCC (Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria) and Dawn Murray, a Pet Bereavement Counsellor from Living with Pet Bereavement also attended court to give their support to the pet owners. Dawn Murray said “These people have been through so much and I hope that today’s guilty plea is another step towards them finding closure”
Pets were sent to Peak Pet Cremations by Ambivet veterinary group. The pet owners, who paid Ambivet for the cremation services, are currently considering whether to take their own legal action against the vets.
Kevin Spurgeon added “This case damages the reputation of the many vets and genuine pet crematoria that help owners through the loss of their pet. Our members adhere to a strict code of practice ensuring that sites are licensed and individual cremations are carried out properly and it is sickening to think that someone has abused the trust of these grieving pet owners at such a vulnerable time.”
Talking about the extent of the issue Kevin continues “It concerns me that the veterinary group sent hundreds, possibly thousands of pets to Peak Pet Cremations over the past few years and was seemingly unaware that the site was not properly licensed. Questions need to be asked to determine whether this incident could have been prevented.”
The APPCC have now written to the Veterinary Associations for their support after launching a Pet Cremation Code that encourages veterinary practices to inspect the pet crematoria that they use and accurately describe the after death care services that they offer clients.
The APPCC has also set up a support line (01252 844478) and Facebook group (Pets Reunited) offering help for concerned pet owners. The Blue Cross offer a free pet bereavement support service offering emotional support and information for pet owners who may be experiencing the loss of a pet. The support line is open from 8.30am – 8.30pm everyday. All calls are free and confidential from a landline. Telephone 0800 096 6606 (UK only including northern Ireland).
Sentencing will take place next month (02/02/2011) at Derby Crown Court. The judge indicated that Bent may face a custodial sentence.
The APPCC will be making a press pack available after sentencing. To request a pack please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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