Essex crime: Puppy with 'no vaccine card' dies from parvovirus after being sold by Thurrock woman, court hears - petsitterbank

Essex crime: Puppy with ‘no vaccine card’ dies from parvovirus after being sold by Thurrock woman, court hears

Two women and two men from Essex are on trial after several families bought puppies which then became seriously ill within days, with at least one dying. The four people from Thurrock are standing trial over the sale of the dogs in 2019.

Devastating accounts from families have been heard at Basildon Crown Court after they spent between £600 and £800 on new puppies in 2019, only for them to develop serious illnesses within the first week. One family tragically lost their new dog, called Mabel, to parvovirus within days. This is a highly contagious virus and spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object, with puppies exposed when in close proximity to faeces.

Stacey Hayward, 41, of Colliford Road, West Thurrock, Steven Foster, 42, also of Colliford Road, Kelly Bennett, 43, and Ricky Bennett, 41, both of Weymouth Drive, Chafford Hundred, all deny conspiring to dishonestly make false representation to make self-gains and cause loss or expose others to risk. The jury at the court on Wednesday (April 27) heard accounts from families who had looked to buy puppies, including Cocker Spaniels and Cavachon puppies, in 2019.

Read more: Court reports and breaking crime news from across Essex

Many of the accounts from the families raise concerns about their puppies being advertised as microchipped and vaccinated, only to be given vaccine cards with the wrong dates on, and later being told by vets that there was no microchip. One family shared how they claimed to have bought a puppy from Hayward in Billericay in July 2019, only to tragically lose her to parvovirus days later.

In her statement, read to the court by prosecuting barrister Hazel Stevens, the woman said she purchased her puppy, which her family named Mabel, from Hayward in Billericay on July 13, 2019 for £650. She noticed when she was there that the puppies were “nervous, scared and clinging to each other”, and that looking back now, “all the warning signs were there”, but despite this, she had fallen for Mabel and wanted to give her the best possible life.



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The woman said: “At the time of purchase, Hayward said she wasn’t in possession of a vaccination card but it would posted to me on Monday morning. While on the journey home Mabel was sick in my car. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and thought it was just motion sickness. She was nervous, backing away from me and not eating or drinking.”

The woman said Mabel did improve but would sleep for long periods of time. She said Hayward never posted the vaccination card to her. On July 19, Mabel deteriorated and was taken to a vet, which confirmed she had parvovirus. The woman continued in her statement claiming that Hayward had been “dismissive” when she called her telling her about the virus, and allegedly said it was “a load of rubbish, the vets always say parvovirus”.

However, the next day, the vet called the woman to say Mabel had deteriorated overnight. The woman continued: “When I saw her she was lifeless. It will be an image I will never get out of my head. I said to the vets that it was best to put her to sleep.” The court heard the woman’s partner contacted Hayward after Mabel’s death demanding a refund, as “they were sold a puppy with an illness that would end her life”. The woman added: “Stacey Hayward still hasn’t issued the refund.”



Stacey Hayward and Steven Foster, both of West Thurrock, outside Basildon Crown Court.  They are standing trial over the sale of alleged sick puppies which later either became seriously ill or died
Stacey Hayward and Steven Foster, both of West Thurrock, outside Basildon Crown Court. They are standing trial over the sale of alleged sick puppies which later either became seriously ill or died

‘The paperwork was a joke’

Ms Stevens read out various other statements to the jury from other families, including one whose puppy ended up being healthy, however, they described the vaccination card given to them for the dog as “a joke” due to it “having a big hole in the back” with no reference to who had actually jabbed the dog.

Another family, who bought a puppy they named Jack, said he was “terrified of anything” and that he would “eat so fast he almost choked himself”. His owner said “I felt like I was terrorizing him”. When he was taken to the vet, no microchip could be found, which led the owner to think the original paperwork “was a scam”, the jury heard.

Another account was heard from a family who bought a puppy from Kelly Bennett, claiming that it was quickly diagnosed with giardia, which can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, weight loss, poor condition, or death. However, their dog managed to improve and became “the love of their life”. The family said: “There was no remorse from Kelly Bennett, or any offer of a refund. We paid £650 plus dozens of pounds in vets bills. Kelly Bennett was very aggressive and evasive, saying she must have got like that after handing her over.”

The trial, which is expected to last between 4 and 5 weeks, continues.

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