Missing dogs still a mystery as walker Louise Lawford sentenced


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Louise Lawford admitted animal welfare offences not linked to the missing dogs

A dog walker said she was suffering “extreme emotional and physical stress” when five pets in her care vanished.

Louise Lawford admitted four animal welfare offences relating to her business Pawford Paws in Birmingham.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard Mrs Lawford had been placed in a position of trust and left customers anguished.

Prosecutors did not accept her account that the dogs ran off but could not prove what happened and dropped charges relating to the pets’ disappearance.

Mrs Lawford was fined £800 and banned from owning dogs for five years for breaching her licence conditions and failing to seek treatment for a dog that developed a skin condition while in her care.

‘Dog killer’

The fate of the missing dogs, Ralph, Charlie, Pablo, Maggie and Jack, which disappeared after a walk in Hopwas Woods near Tamworth on 23 June, remains a mystery. Some of the pets’ owners were in court to witness Mrs Lawford being sentenced.

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April Lock

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Pugs Charlie and Ralph were among the dogs that went missing in Tamworth in June

“The dogs were never found, despite being chipped and there being extensive searches,” Jonathan Barker, prosecuting, said, adding he did not accept Mrs Lawford’s account that the dogs got lost in the woods – but could not prove otherwise.

The case has attracted much attention on social media, and Mrs Lawford was called a “dog killer” when she left court briefly before sentencing.

Judge Joanna Dickens described the outburst as “outrageous”.

Mrs Lawford’s legal representatives said she had been sent death threats online.

Her sentence means she will have to give up her elderly pet labrador. She must also pay costs of £2,616 and a victim surcharge of £80.

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