Puppy Farm Woman In The Dock
Mar 9 2008 By Billy Paterson
A PUPPY farmer is facing more than 50 claims that she conned customers with dying dogs after being exposed by the Sunday Mail.
Liz Baird appeared in court last week after families claimed she deliberately sold them puppies that were terminally ill.
And a flood of heartbroken pet owners have come forward since we revealed how customers paid hundreds of pounds to buy the dogs from Baird.
Hundreds more were spent on vet fees for animals bought from Hillbank Kennels, near Hurlford, Ayrshire.
More than 20 new cases emerged last week - taking the number of complaints to 55.
One of the new customers with horror stories was John Madden, 46, of Renfrew.
He said: "I bought a Cavalier King Charles pup from Baird for our 14-year-old daughter.
"What we didn't know at the time was it had a heart defect. It only lasted 14 weeks before we had to have it put down."
Ann Hodgens, 47, of Stepps, near Glasgow, said: "We bought a Cavalier King Charles puppy from Hillbank for s500. She had an upper respiratory disorder and a temperature. She fell and broke two leg bones.
"We spent s2000 on treatment for her but have not received any compensation from Baird, who told us the dog was registered with the Kennel Club when she wasn't."
Jennifer Thomson, 22, of Kilmarnock, said: "I bought a Cavalier King Charles puppy from Baird for s450.
"She was skin and bone and had a chest infection. I spent over s400 to save my puppy's life.
"I have raised a petition asking for Hillbank to be closed and I have over 300 signatures."
Al ison McMillan, 32, of Hamilton, said: "I bought a Shi Tzu puppy from Baird for my daughter's third birthday.
"A few days later it developed a growth in its tummy which burst.
I only had the pup a week and spent hundreds on vet's bills."
Baird's pastor husband Thomas - attached to the Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church at Johnstone, Renfrewshire - plays an active role in the puppy farm.
Liz Baird, 48, appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Friday to face two charges of breaching the Trade Descriptions Act.
She is accused of advertising and selling Cavalier King Charles puppies, falsely stating they were registered with the Kennel Club.
In a separate civil action brought before the same court last week, East Ayrshire Council Trading Standards Department are trying to get an enforcement order to stop her selling ill pups.
An East Ayrshire Council spokeswoman said: "We are seeking an enforcement order barring her from engaging in the malpractices that have been complained about."
But Baird claims she does not sell sick dogs.
She said: "The puppies I sell are all in good health. Some are traumatised in transit and can die.
"I never claimed the dogs were registered with the Kennel Club.
They are registered with the Dog Lovers' Association."