Illegal pet shop firm ran rabies dog risks

An English bulldog, the breed which Michal Bednarczyk sold illegally
An English bulldog, the breed which Michal Bednarczyk sold illegally
The old radar station at Fraser Range, Eastney Picture: Shaun Roster

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A WANNABE businessman risked spreading a lethal disease by illegally operating a pet shop, a court has heard.

Michal Bednarczyk narrowly avoided jail after selling English bulldogs across the country without a licence.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how the Polish national was illegally running a pet shop while ‘flouting’ stringent animal import rules designed to prevent the spread of rabies.

Bednarczyk’s firm, the Green Bulldog Club, operated from an address in Waverley Grove, Southsea, and later his home in Leigh Road, Havant, and was responsible for bringing at least a dozen dogs into the UK from Poland.

On two of these occasions, Bednarczyk sold bulldogs to owners, providing false pet passports and without following critical inoculation treatments to prevent the spread of rabies and other diseases.

Prosecutor Darren Bartlett, representing Portsmouth City Council, said the 37-year-old’s actions could have created a serious public health risk. Speaking at Bednarczyk’s sentencing, Mr Bartlett said: ‘Rabies is a killer disease and this defendant has dishonestly and deliberately flouted these stringent rules to prevent the spread of rabies.

‘It’s a disease with no known cure and can ultimately cause death to animals and humans.’

The court heard how the two pups were transported into Britain on December 2 and 4, in 2015.

Both were about nine weeks old – which Mr Bartlett said was seven weeks too young for any rabies inoculation to be effective. Bednarczyk, who is studying business management at the University of Chichester, said he was ‘unaware’ of the age.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said he was ‘not responsible’ for the documentation provided, instead blaming the animal providers in Poland, saying this was their responsibility.

However, Judge Roger Hetherington was ‘not impressed’ by the 37-year-old’s arguments.

He said Bednarczyk lied to city council officers about his role in selling and advertising the animals.

The judge said: ’You were responsible for putting into the market at least two dogs which carried a risk because they did not have the proper inoculation to rabies and maybe other serious illnesses as well.

‘Your case was made worse by the fact that you told lies when you were questioned by the Portsmouth City Council officers and that the whole investigation of this matter and the costs associated with it have been exacerbated by your uncooperative attitude.’

Bednarczyk pleaded guilty to one count of operating a pet shop without a licence and four breaches of animal importation rules. He was fined £2,400 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs as well as a further £1,466.50 in compensation to his two victims.