Dog walker in Sutton Coldfield faces missing pets prosecution

Pugs Charlie and Ralph Image copyright April Lock
Image caption April Lock said she was certain her pugs Charlie and Ralph were dead

A dog walker accused of losing several pets in her care is to be prosecuted for animal welfare offences.

Louise Lawford is alleged to have been looking after at least five dogs when they went missing during a walk in woods in Staffordshire, in June.

Owners said Ms Lawford, who operated Pawford Paws in Sutton Coldfield, had not revealed what happened to the pets.

The case, brought by Birmingham City Council, is due to be heard at the city magistrates’ court on 23 January.

Ms Lawford, 49, of Flackwell Road, Erdington, is accused of nine animal welfare offences, including five counts of undertaking group walks without ensuring each dog had been vaccinated, allowing dogs off the lead without written consent and failing to contact the owners or dog warden immediately when dogs were lost.

She is also accused of three counts of breaching conditions of the licence to operate a business providing home boarding for dogs and one further charge of failing to provide veterinary treatment for a skin infection for a dog.

The council said Ms Lawford’s dog boarding licence was revoked on 28 June.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Louise Lawford, of Flackwell Road, Erdington, is accused of animal welfare offences

It is claimed the dogs vanished in Hopwas Woods near Tamworth, on 23 June.

April Lock, who owned pugs Charlie and Ralph, said she was on holiday when Ms Lawford contacted her about the disappearance.

“I thought originally maybe that they’d got stolen. She let us search for about two weeks,” said Ms Lock.

Ms Lock and two other pet owners whose dogs disappeared on the same day have been crowdfunding to take civil action against Ms Lawson.

West Midlands Police said it had investigated allegations of theft relating to the missing dogs but there was insufficient evidence to consider charges.

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