THE owner of a pet cremation service has pleaded guilty to dumping dogs in a field instead of cremating them – and an Eastwood family fear their dog may have suffered the same fate.
Emma Bent took between £70 and £140 from customers to cremate their pets, but instead dumped the animals’ bodies next to fields close to Bridle Lane in Lower Hartshay and Primrose Farm, Heage.
Unsuspecting families were then offered an urn containing ashes that were not that of their pets.
Neville Woods, who lives in Chewton Street, had taken his dog, Jody, to Ms Bent to be cremated, so had his ashes checked after reading about the case in the press.
When the results came back they showed the ashes were ten per cent bones, and 90 per cent bonfire rubbish.
He said: “I was obviously extremely annoyed when I got the results.
“It was worse for my daughter – she was broken hearted. The worst thing is, we are never going to know where Jody ended up.
“She was a precious, precious dog. We had her from a pup and she was a lovely animal.”
Mr Woods could not prove anything because Jody was not one of those found in the fields.
Bent, who ran Peak Pet Cremations from her home in Heage, pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud at Derby Crown Court on Tuesday.
She had already pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including two charges of operating a non-approved incineration plant and two charges of operating a non-approved storage facility, in December after a lengthy Trading Standards investigation.
But having earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges of fraud, she is now likely to face a custodial sentence, said Judge John Burgess.
Judge Burgess told Bent at the hearing: “You have pleaded guilty to the indictment in large measure, but you won’t get as much credit today as much as you would have if you had confessed earlier.
“The court will decide the appropriate sentence is, but I can imagine it would be a custodial sentence.”
Kevin Spurgeon from the Association of Private Pets and Crematoria (APPCC) believes there are in the region of 4,000 customers of Mrs Bent who will now be concerned whether their pet was cremated correctly.
He said: “What is now of concern is the thousands of pets that were referred to Mrs Bent.
“There will be grave concerns as to what happened to their bodies.”
Mr Spurgeon said those concerned can contact the APPCC helpline on 01252 844478 for help and advice.
Mr Woods joined the families whose pets were dumped at the court hearing.
He said: “I cannot wait for the sentence, the longer she gets the better as far as I’m concerned.”
Bent will be sentenced on February 2.