Her actions were considered to have caused such suffering to animal owners that she was given a custodial sentence.

Emma Bent of Peak Pet Cremations was not registered to lawfully cremate animals on the land she rented. She used a nearby field to illegally store and burn animal bodies and clinical waste including syringes, hypodermic needles and medicines.

The RSPCA was alerted by a local man came across the bodies of four dogs in a drainage ditch. The Environment Agency launched an investigation after the RSPCA notified police.

On searching the property, investigators found areas of scorched earth, live and large amounts of burnt animals and clinical waste. They discovered that the owners of the dogs had been presented with ashes which they thought were the remains of their pets.

Environmental Crime team leader, Peter Rutherford, said: “Her unlawful activity resulted in pet owners being left very distressed and saved her large sums in costs that legitimate businesses would have had to pay.

“It also polluted the environment and was likely to cause harm to human health.”

Ms Bent accepted that she unlawfully stored and burnt clinical waste and pleaded guilty, however, the judge said that despite her personal circumstances he felt that the case merited an immediate custodial sentence.

He said that the case had impacted personally on the owners of the dogs, who had suffered as a result of these illegal actions.

Peter Rutherford added: “The pets we found that should originally have been cremated were individually cremated and the ashes returned to their owners.

“The other animals recovered were cremated together. This was an extremely distressing case for all those involved, both pet owners and the staff who had to go through all the bags to obtain evidence for this prosecution.”

Alison Brown

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