Derby

Pet cremation fraud woman jailed for eight months

Emma Bent
Image caption Emma Bent admitted six charges of fraud

A woman who ran a pet crematorium in Derbyshire has been jailed for eight months for dumping the bodies of her customers' pets in a field.

Emma Bent, 35, of Heage, was described by Judge David Pugsley at Derby Crown Court as "cynical, callous and calculating".

Some of the pet owners were at court wearing T-shirts with photos of the pets she should have cremated.

Three dogs, two cats and a guinea pig were dumped in a field in August 2009.

Some of the pets had been microchipped, which helped RSPCA inspectors identify the remains.

Fraud charges

Bent, who ran Peak Pet Cremations in Heage, initially blamed burglars, but later admitted six charges under the Environmental Protection Act and 13 charges under the Animal By-Product Regulations Act.

Pet owner Linda Allen said: "This was wicked from someone who claims she loves animals - how could she treat our dogs like waste?"

Angela Moore, who also sent her dog to Bent for cremation, said: "I've had to go into anti-depressants because of it. It has just shattered our lives. We are going to have to live with what Emma did to us for the rest of our days."

The court was told Bent had a contract with a local veterinary group to collect and dispose of clinical waste and pet carcasses.

She also offered an individual pet cremation service, but did not have the required licences.

Officers found a metal shed in a field with more than 100 bags of clinical waste such as used syringes, hypodermic needles and medicines as well as decomposing animals and body parts.

Image caption Inspectors found bags of waste in a shed in Derbyshire

Judge Pugsley said: "This case isn't just about that (environmental damage) but about what you did to people who were vulnerable and were exploited.

"I don't regard this as mere sentimentality - what you did caused very real distress."

Peter Rutherford of the Environment Agency 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."

The court heard that she did originally operate an incinerator but it broke down and she did not replace it, but burned and buried the bodies in a field.

She invoiced a local veterinary firm more than £91,000 between November 2006 and August 2009 for disposal of waste and 2,838 pet carcasses, the court heard.

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