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Dog walker who 'lost five pets in her care' to be prosecuted for animal welfare offences

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Dog walker Louise Lawford faces prosecution after several pets went missing.

A professional dog walker accused of losing several pets in her care will face prosecution for animal welfare offences, it has emerged.

Louise Lawford, 49, had been looking after the pooches – who have since been dubbed the Tamworth Five – for three owners when she claimed they suddenly bolted off after being spooked by a gunshot.

The dogs disappeared while being walked in Hopwas Woods, near Tamworth, Staffordshire, on 23 June last year.

Hundreds of people joined a search to track down Pablo, Maggie, Charlie, Ralph and Jack but they were never found.

Ralph (left) and Charlie (right) were left in Louise Lawford's care while owner April Lock went to Spain. (SWNS)
Dog owner Becky Parsons lost Pablo the pug and Maggie the Jack Russell (pictured). (SWNS)

Suspicious owners said they contacted police after Lawford disappeared and stopped taking their calls.

Two women have since claimed they were told that their pets had been found dead.

Police launched a search for the businesswoman but said following an investigation that there was insufficient evidence to charge her with theft.

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However, it has now emerged that Lawford will be hauled before a court after Birmingham City Council accused of her of a string of animal welfare offences.

Lawford, who ran Pawford Paws in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, will appear before Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 23 January.

She is accused of nine animal welfare offences, including five counts of undertaking group walks without ensuring each dog had been vaccinated, allowing dogs off the lead without written consent and failing to contact the owners or dog warden immediately when dogs were lost.

Becky Parsons (left) and April Lock (right) both lost pets. (SWNS)

She also faces three counts of breaching conditions of the licence to operate a business providing home boarding for dogs and a charge of failing to provide veterinary treatment for a skin infection for a dog.

The city council also confirmed that Lawford, of Erdington, Birmingham, had her dog boarding licence revoked on June 28.

Dog owner Becky Parsons, 39, of Erdington, Birmingham, described the loss of Pablo the pug and Maggie the Jack Russell as her "worst nightmare".

Pablo the pug (left), and with Maggie the Jack Russell (right). (SWNS)

She said at the time: "I had given my dogs over to Louise to look after while I was on holiday.

"As soon as I got back I looked myself and I couldn't find them. My heart is broken.

"The dogs have died. I'm in bits. Maggie and Pablo were my best friends. My heart just sunk when I found out.”

Another owner, April Lock, 28, of Streetly, West Midlands, left dogs Charlie and Ralph in Lawford's care while she went to Spain.

Police visit Louise Lawford's house in Birmingham. (SWNS)

Speaking at the time of their disappearance, she said: "I was told the same tale as Becky that they had run off after a loud bang in the woods but I don't believe that.

"I have no clue where my dogs have gone, just that they were supposedly last seen in Hopwas Woods. It makes no sense.”

Lock and two other pet owners whose dogs disappeared on the same day have been crowdfunding to take civil action against Lawford.

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