A puppy farmer who was spared jail has been taken back to court after appearing to gloat about her lenient sentence on Facebook.
Zoe Rushmer first appeared in court on Tuesday (June 25) where she admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and received a two-year suspended sentence for four animal cruelty offences after sobbing uncontrollably in the dock.
The 26-year-old was reportedly part of a gang which made £300,000 from selling ill or dying dogs. The court heard how Rushmer used her children to convince customers the animals had come from loving homes when in reality they were kept in horrific conditions at White House Farm in Thurlton, Norfolk, the Mirror report.
Zoe Rushmer, who was spared prison for her role in running a "vile puppy farm" in Norfolk, has been back in the dock today after she boasted about her freedom… but she walked free again. Full story 👇https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2019-06-28/norfolk-puppy-farmer-zoe-rushmer-hauled-back-before-court-but-walks-free-again/
Posted by ITV Anglia on Friday, June 28, 2019
Her partner Jacob Murphy and her brother Michael Rushmer were each jailed for 42 months but Rushmer was spared jail after pleading for clemency over her four children.
At the time, Judge Andrew Shaw told the mum:
It is your children and only your children that have saved you from going to prison.
However, after receiving her sentence Rushmer wrote a Facebook status saying ‘Freedom!!’. She also shared a picture of herself wearing a balaclava and smoking a cigarette which was captioned ‘wing it’ with a fist-bump emoji.
Judge Shaw was made aware of the Facebook posts and on Friday Rushmer was hauled back to Norwich Crown Court, where the judge accused her of shedding crocodile tears during her court case and said she was simply ‘hoping to get away with it’.
The court heard how the photo of Rushmer in the balaclava had been taken before her original court hearing, though Ian James, who was defending the 26-year-old, claimed she wore the garment to avoid being pictured by the press and that she was genuinely remorseful.
According to the Mirror, the judge said:
She sobbed her way through the hearing and I was reliably informed by my usher that her tears dried up once she left court.
To wear that balaclava the moment before one appears in court, smoking a cigarette in that way with the caption ‘wing it’, does not indicate remorse.
Judge Shaw reportedly spent five hours debating whether to jail the puppy farmer but ultimately decided not to alter his sentence.
Utter scum 🤮 Greedy and callous puppy farmers Jacob Murphy, Michael Rushmer and Zoe Rushmer kept 74 dogs and puppies, many of whom were sick or dying, in cages, dark sheds and a caravan in temperatures up to 30C. pic.twitter.com/T5k31cQKgX
— Joanna Bloggs (@JoBloggs76) June 27, 2019
While I still have my doubts about how remorseful you are, the real reason I imposed the sentence I did was I did not think it right to deprive four such young children of their mother.
I hope this has been a wake up call for you. It is about time you set your children a better example than you have been doing thus far.
The RSPCA brought the case after discovering the dogs in ‘disgusting’ conditions in 2017.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.