A Uttoxeter man pretended to be a vet to sell off puppies using fraudulent paperwork, a court heard.
Kelvin Brown, 33, of Heathfield Road, Uttoxeter, fraudulently signed documents claiming a number of puppies on Trippyhills Farm in Staffordshire, had been correctly vaccinated by his cousin, Lucy Guntripp.
The puppies were then sold with fraudulent paperwork for incorrect injections, leaving new owners to pick up the cost for proper veterinary treatment.
Brown pleaded guilty at magistrates in December to using a practitioner title without qualification and making false documents.
Aadhithya Anbahan, prosecuting at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, said: “One of the puppies was taken to a proper vet, when the vet became suspicious about the vaccinations.
“The dates of the vaccinations did not reflect what is normal for a puppy of that age, which raised suspicion.
“Some of the dogs were sold at six-weeks old, when the legal age is eight.”
Richard Oldroyd, defending Brown, said: “He believes that the puppies getting some sort of vaccination was better than them getting no vaccination at all.
“He understands the seriousness of his position.
“Brown was living in a caravan on the site where they were performing the ‘vaccinations’ – he felt like he was getting a lot from them.
“He was presented with these certificates to sign and he signed them.”
Judge David Fletcher, sentencing Brown, said: “There were three puppies that were sold for around £850 each.
“One of the dogs involved was stolen, sold six months later, and then escaped another six months later when it had its microchip read, and was returned to the rightful owner.
“If you don’t complete your unpaid work, you will be back to this court, in front of me, and you will be sent to prison.”
Brown was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence, reduced to four for his guilty plea, which was suspended for 18 months.
He must complete 160 hours of unpaid work, and 12 months of community work consisting of a further 40 hours.
Guntripp, Brown’s co-accused, was sentenced at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in January.