A DOG seller forged health certificates in order to dupe a woman into buying his pooch, which had a heart condition.

Duane Fowler also told the buyer, Tracey Lowe, that the animal was 18 months old, when it was actually between the ages of four and five.

Colette Orton, prosecuting, said Ms Lowe travelled from Nottingham to Worcester to pick up the dog, which she paid £850 for.

She found the animal through an advert on petsforhomes.co.uk and only realised that the dog had some issues when she got it home, the court heard.

Ms Lowe took the pet to the vet due to its odd behaviour - and it was at this point that she found out its real age and that it had a heart murmur, the magistrates were told.

Mrs Orton said: "She contacted Ann Robinson, from Henwick Vets [in Worcester], and asked why she signed the health certificates.

"She [Ms Robinson] asked her to email the certificates. They were fraudulent copies of certificates and her signature."

Fowler, of Patterdale Drive, Worcester, told police he had bought the dog from a group of travellers and admitted that it had never been to Henwick Vets, the court heard.

Mark Sheward, defending, said Fowler purchased the dog two months before selling it.

He added: "When he spoke to the lady [the buyer], who I think is a dog breeder, she asked if he had any certificates to confirm the dog's health."

Magistrates were told that Fowler then modified an existing certificate for a different dog and handed it to the buyer.

Mr Sheward said the defendant, who did not think the animal was ill, just wanted to get rid of the dog because it did not get on with the other dog he owned.

Fowler, aged 31, also had concerns about how it would behave around children, the magistrates were told.

Ms Lowe still owns the dog, the court heard.

Fowler, who pleaded guilty to fraud yesterday, has a previous conviction for stealing clothes from Asda last year.

Worcester Magistrates Court told him to pay £850 in compensation, £85 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

It also handed him a 26-week night curfew.

The sale took place on September 27 last year.

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