Fugitives Laura Kiseliova, 39, and Raimondas Titas, 37, of Little Hulton, Salford, Greater Manchester, pictured at a court hearing during allegations in December
A woman who ran an illegal pet shop has been found in Barcelona and is facing four years in prison – three years since she went on the run.
Laura Kiseliova, 40, was found in Spain trying to avoid her sentence from 2016 – two days ago after a European Arrest Warrant was issued. She has been sentenced for smuggling dogs in Manchester.
Kiseliova and her husband Raimondas Titas made more than £300,000 selling dogs illegally in their shop in Prestwich, Greater Manchester.
Titas’s location is still unknown but he was also sentenced in his absence – to three years and six months jail, yesterday at the Manchester Crown Court.
Kiseliova initially boarded a ferry to Northern Ireland, before crossing the border into the Republic of Ireland, the court heard.
Kiseliova then boarded another ferry to mainland Europe and was arrested in Spain but it is unclear whether she handed herself in.
Kiseliova has been sentenced for smuggling dogs (pictured) which she bought from an illegal pet shop in Greater Manchester – and storing them in cramped cages
Dogs found included English and French bulldogs were cramped and locked in cages
Kiseliova, who appeared in court beside a Lithuanian interpreter, admitted committing a Bail Act offence by failing to turn to court. She was remanded in custody.
The case was adjourned until next week so the same judge who sentenced Kiseliova three years ago can oversee the hearing.
Kiseliova pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including importing puppies and passing them off as UK bred and failing to protect animals from suffering in 2016 – and was given a four-year sentence. But sentencing was delayed for a year when she tried to withdraw her guilty plea.
When she was due to appear in court with her husband a year later, they fled the country and were believed to be hiding in eastern Europe.
They were sentenced in their absence in December last year after setting up an online ‘puppy farm’ called ‘Pets313’ and advertising ‘British bred’ puppies.
After the pair were twice stopped from importing dogs at ports in Kent, Salford council launched an investigation.
Customers reported the dogs’ health rapidly deteriorated after they were taken home – having been kept in squalid, cramped conditions since birth
The RSPCA said they found ‘cages and pens containing different breeds of dogs in almost every room’ when they raided the couple’s home
A local vet had also raised the alarm about a puppy that had been sold in the city, but had an Eastern European microchip.
Police, along with the RSPCA and trading standards officers, raided two houses in Salford and one in Prestwich.
A total of 41 dogs and puppies and eight cats and kittens were found during the raid in Prestwich, in 2013, and some were without importance vaccinations.
An RSPCA officer discovered a litter of puppies in their ‘filthy en-suite bathroom’ upstairs and cages of animals were stacked on top of each other in the garage.
They said in December: ‘It was clear there were some cats and puppies that needed immediate veterinary treatment and sadly two of the puppies that were rushed to the vets for treatment later died from parvovirus.’
More than 40 pet passports at the property, which didn’t match the dogs at the home.
The animals included French bulldogs and pugs, as well as pedigree cats, and they were being sold between £800 and £1,000 each.
Speaking at the time of the sentencing, RSPCA SOU Chief Insp Ian Briggs said: ‘It was obvious that this duo were dealing and trading in a large number of animals and that many of them were not receiving the appropriate care and veterinary attention they needed.’
Some of the animals were suffering with conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis or had sore and infected wounds.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, at Salford City Council, said he was was ‘delighted’ Kiseliova has been caught and is ‘back to face justice’ of the four years she was intended to serve in 2016.
He added: ‘Kiseliova risked importing diseases with the animals she traded so callously as well as defrauding customers and causing them distress.’
Some of the dogs, which included French and English bulldogs, were found trapped locked in cages