A DOG breeder has been banned from keeping the animals for life and ordered to pay £48,485 costs after losing his appeal.

John Michael Joseph Walsh, 55, who has previous convictions relating to animals, was found guilty earlier this year of animal cruelty and the transportation and abandonment of nine young puppies on May 20, 2004.

Blandford magistrates had heard how Walsh, of Denton Hall Kennels, Low Lane, Brampton, Cumbria, left nine puppies in a parked car at Weymouth ferry port on a hot summer's day while he took another six puppies over to Jersey.

Walsh appealed against his conviction on the grounds that the puppies did not suffer.

He also claimed, through his defence lawyer David Lyons, that there may have been a third party who attended the puppies but was not prepared to give evidence.

Judge John Harrow, presiding at Dorchester Crown Court, heard how Walsh had chosen to give no evidence throughout the original trial and the appeal except for telling Sergeant Paul Senior, of Cumbria Police, to let them prove I was in the car'.

The court was also told how Walsh, on his way back from Jersey, had answered a mobile phone call from police operator Dawn O'Leary in which he admitted he had left the puppies in the car but said they had plenty of food and water.

Charles Gabb, prosecuting, said that Walsh drove the green Vauxhall estate to the ferry port to catch the 7.15am departure leaving two small boxes, containing six Jack Russells, two Papillions and one Bichon Frise, in the back of the car knowing he was not due back until 2.40pm.

Mr Gabb said that the temperature outside the vehicle reached 24C and likened the heat inside to that of an oven or sauna.

He added: "You don't need to be a vet to know that in those circumstances those dogs were suffering."

The puppies were eventually freed from the car at 12.15pm after a vigilant parking attendant alerted her boss and the police.

Subsequent examination at about 2pm, by vet David Cumber, revealed that the dogs showed no signs of heat stroke.

Further expert evidence from vets Roger Eddy and Robin Carpenter confirmed that although these puppies appeared to show no signs of suffering from heat stroke when examined by Mr Cumber, if they had been left any longer in those conditions they may have died.

Mr Cumber added: "Dogs die in hot cars, they die very quickly if the critical temperature is reached."

The court also heard how Walsh, the man allegedly responsible for introducing Foot and Mouth disease into Ireland by smuggling sheep, spent time in prison for cruelly transporting 49 puppies and three kittens in nine carry-cases.

Judge Harrow upheld the conviction and sentence, of a 100-hour community rehabilitation order, imposed by Blandford magistrates, but extended the 10-year ban on keeping dogs to a lifetime ban.

Walsh was ordered to pay £48,485 costs.

RSPCA Inspector Marie Griffiths said after the appeal: "We are absolutely delighted with the outcome, especially the lifetime ban so that no other animals can suffer in this man's hands."