An illegal dog breeder who bragged about selling puppies to celebrities in America faces a legal battle to keep his ill-gotten gains.
Famous Michael Dawson, 49, sold dogs on Facebook and Instagram without a license for 16 months.
Plymouth City Council has launched a judicial bid under the Proceeds of Crime Act to have him repay the money he earned from his illegal business.
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The authority previously put the figure at £ 64,000 – although this was disputed by Dawson’s lawyer.
The accused has returned to Plymouth Crown Court, where a judge will decide the benefit he received from the crime.
Judge Peter Johnson has set a date for a full-day contest on January 21 next year.
The defendant will then be ordered to repay the money, including by selling its assets, under pain of imprisonment.
Dawson, of Tamerton Foliot Road, has three convictions for himself and his businesses involving dogs.
He pleaded guilty to the single charge of breeding dogs without a license under the Animal Welfare Act between September 30, 2018 and January 18, 2020.
The same court learned in March that Dawson had run his business for 15 to 20 years, but broke new regulations as of 2018.
The council said that over a 16-month period, investigators found evidence that Dawson had bred “some 22 identified litters of dogs” and that there was evidence that there was “probably more of staves “.
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These were announced on Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Prosecuting attorney Gregory Gordon told the court: “He said he was selling them around the world, including to American celebrities.”
Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings typically see the prosecution and defense agree on an amount to reimburse a defendant’s ill-gotten gains. They are usually seen in cases involving drug traffickers and benefit cheaters.
In November last year, Dawson and his company Element Bullys were fined after a search warrant was executed by Defra who found illegal veterinary drugs. Dawson was fined £ 265 and costs £ 85 and a victim surcharge of £ 30, while Element Bullys Ltd was fined £ 1,500, plus a victim surcharge of £ 150.
Dawson was fined for allowing a puppy in his care to have his ears cut off in February.
He was caught with an American pocket bully type slut during a raid by police and other agencies on his home.
The beige and white dog, named Riot, was found in a crate in the garden with its ears cut off, Plymouth magistrates heard.
The dog was seized by the RSPCA and has since been relocated, the court heard.
Dawson pleaded guilty to allowing another person to perform a prohibited procedure or failing to protect a protected animal in June 2019. He was fined £ 1,000 and a victim fine surcharge of £ 100 , but was not banned from keeping animals because he said breeding dogs were his only source of income.
The RSPCA said cultivation of cobs was on the increase despite being illegal. It is licensed in America and other European countries.
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