Mum, 26, who ran sick puppy farming scam gloats on Facebook as she avoids jail

A YOUNG mum who ran a suck puppy farming scam gloated on Facebook at being spared jail moments after sobbing uncontrollably in the dock.

Zoe Rushmer, 26, was part of a gang that made £300,000 selling sick or dying dogs to animal lovers who were told the dogs had come from happy homes.

But the animals had actually been kept in squalid conditions at White House Farm in Thurlton, Norfolk.

Rushmer was handed a two-year suspended prison term for four animal cruelty offences at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday.

She had successfully pleaded for clemency on the grounds that she had four children.

But just moments after being let off, Rushmer posted the word “Freedom!!!” on a background of colourful hearts to Facebook.

She was also found to have previously posted a photo of herself clad in a black balaclava and smoking a cigarette below the words “Wing it” and a fist-bump emoji.

Rushmer was hauled back to Norwich Crown Court on Friday after the posts were brought to the judge’s attention.

Judge Andrew Shaw accused Rushmer of shedding crocodile tears during her court case and that she was simply “hoping to get away with it”.

He 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.

“It indicates someone who is hoping to get away with it.”

Ian James, defending, claimed Rushmer wore the balaclava to avoid being pictured by the press and that she was genuinely remorseful.

After spending five hours debating whether to jail her, Judge Shaw decided not to alter her sentence.

He said: “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.”

Rushmer admitted fraud and animal welfare offences alongside her brother Michael Rushmer, 27, and partner Jacob Murphy, 27, who were jailed for three-and-a-half years.

The RSPCA described the conditions in which the dogs were found in 2017 as “disgusting”.

Many were riddled with fleas and worms, while others had to be put down.