Crufts judges who kept dogs in squalor are hit with £5,500 fine

4 months agoA pair of Crufts judges were forced to close their kennels after a spot-check by inspectors found dogs living in filth.

Husband and wife Fiona and Raymond Scholes shut down Lucknow Farm Kennels after a council investigation found the animals’ bedding was dirty and wet, their water bowls empty or overturned and some of the runs outside littered with faeces.

The couple, who are listed on a pedigree puppy-finding website as golden retriever and Lhasa apso breeders, have judged at Crufts as well as several other high-profile Kennel Club competitions.

The pair were convicted and fined £5,482 for eight breaches of their licence at the kennels in Blymhill on the Staffordshire-Shropshire border.

Fiona Scholes, 64, and her husband Raymond, 70, shut down call girls lucknow Farm Kennels in Blymhill, Staffordshire, after a council investigation discovered the dogs’ bedding was dirty and wet, their water bowls were left empty or overturned, and the runs outside were littered with faeces

Magistrates in Newcastle-under-Lyme heard the South Staffordshire Council investigation also found that dogs’ paperwork was out of date and that the kitchen area used for preparing food was in poor repair and dirty, with open food bags. 

The couple had been warned three times to improve standards at the kennels in 2018.

Roger Lees, deputy leader of South Staffordshire Council, said the pair had showed a disregard for animal welfare. 

He added: ‘This prosecution demonstrates that we will not tolerate flagrant disregard of the legal requirements attached to the licences, and we will not hesitate to prosecute when required.

‘Pet owners have the right to expect the highest standards of care for their pets from commercial kennels and that their animals will be well cared for, will not be exposed to disease or danger and that their welfare needs will be met.’

Pictured is one of the dirty areas at Lucknow Farm Kennels in Blymhill, Staffordshire 

Following the case, Mrs Scholes, 64, said: ‘Our customers were actually very upset that we closed.

‘My husband went to renew the licence in January last year and the council accepted the cheque. If it was that bad they wouldn’t have accepted us.’

Mrs Scholes judged the gundog group at Crufts, the world’s most famous dog show, in 2017 and the flat-coated retrievers in 2010. She most recently judged the Manchester Dog Show last month.

The Kennel Club confirmed that Mr Scholes, 70, had also judged at Crufts. His most recent competition was last March at the South Western Golden Retriever Club.

Mrs Scholes said the pair have no current plans to judge Crufts and the Kennel Club confirmed they will not be involved this year.

A spokesman for the Kennel Club said it could not discuss specific cases, but a committee will review any possible breach of the judges’ code of practice.

‘We will always follow up relevant criminal convictions with an investigation and impose disciplinary penalties, if appropriate,’ said the spokesman.

Crufts 2020 is due to take place at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre next month.