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Decade animal ban for Sheffield man who neglected his lurchers for months

Decade animal ban for Sheffield man who neglected his lurchers for months

A South Yorkshire man who kept his dogs tethered outside in filthy and cramped conditions has been disqualified from keeping animals for ten years.  

Jack Pearson, of Dinnington, failed to provide a suitable environment for the lurchers who were underweight and hadn’t been fed properly for over three months. One of the dogs, four-year-old Blaze, subsequently had to have his tail amputated because of an untreated wound which his owner hadn’t sought veterinary treatment for.    

Pearson was sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates Court on 13 June after pleading guilty to two offences contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at an earlier hearing in May following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

The court was told that RSPCA Inspector Kim Greaves had visited the defendant’s house on 23 October last year after the animal welfare charity had received reports that two underweight dogs were living outside in unsanitary conditions. 

In her written statement to the court, Inspector Greaves said: “Both dogs were tethered at separate points outside. Blaze was visibly underweight, and lethargic and had no access to a clean laying area as his kennel was damp and extremely dirty. He also appeared to have blood on the tip of his tail. 

“Sadie was brighter in her demeanour but due to her rough coat, I was unable to tell her bodily condition. Her ‘kennel’ was a storage area with a door which was wide open to the elements and could not have been closed due to her tether being attached to the opposite fence.

“There was a black substance all over the floor which I could see on her legs and paws. Water was available but the receptacle was green with algae. 

“The area was covered with faeces, to such an extent that both dogs were having to walk through it, there was no way for them to avoid doing so, and there was no evidence of any food.

“The area was a narrow walkway to the rear garden, it was very small to house two dogs of their size on a permanent basis. They had no access to the garden ‘proper’ as there was an accumulation of car parts and metal items blocking the pathway.”

Pearson wasn’t in at the time, but Inspector Greaves was so concerned by what she saw that she took photographs of the dogs and the conditions they were living in and contacted a vet who confirmed they were suffering or likely to suffer if their circumstances didn’t change.  

The court was told Inspector Greaves returned to the property with the police later that day, by which time Pearson had returned, and the concerns she had about Blaze and Sadie’s welfare were explained to him.

He said he had cleaned up outside and had given the dogs fresh bedding and water, refuting they were thin and showing the inspector their food, before agreeing they could be taken for veterinary treatment.

Blaze weighed 23.8kg (52.4 pounds) and was given a body score condition of 1/9 out of nine by the vet who examined him. He had pressure sores on his elbows and hipbones, a split tail - which was bleeding profusely - and a cut on one of his back paws.

One-year-old Sadie was covered in a black substance compatible with either engine oil or black paint. She too had pressure sores, a split tail and weighed 20.2kg (44.5 pounds) with a body condition score of 2/9.

Both dogs were started on a course of antibiotics and pain relief and given flea and worming treatment.

In her written evidence the vet said: “It's my opinion that both dogs had suffered as a result of the owner’s failure to provide adequate housing, nutrition and medical veterinary attention for their split tails. Due to their low body condition scores and tail wounds, I would estimate the period of suffering to be longer than three months due to inappropriate nutrition for a sustained time.”

Blaze’s tail could not be saved and it was amputated the following month and healed successfully. 

With the correct feeding, both dogs gained weight well. At a follow-up check on 24 January, Blaze weighed 29.3kg (64.5 pounds) and Sadie was 22.5kg (49.6 pounds).  

The lurchers have been looked after at the RSPCA’s Doncaster, Rotherham and District Branch rehoming centre in Bawtry, where the vet said their quality of life had ‘greatly improved.’ 

A deprivation order imposed by the court means the centre will now be able to start the process of finding them loving new homes.
Pearson, who will not be able to contest his ban for five years, was also given a 12-month community order, with a requirement to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and 15 RAR days, and told to pay costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £114.

Speaking after the conclusion of the case Inspector Greaves said: “Blaze and Sadie were living a miserable existence on the end of a tether in dirty, damp and cramped ‘kennels’ which offered them little protection from the elements.

“The conditions were totally unsuitable for dogs and their health and wellbeing suffered as a result. They’ve made fantastic progress at our branch-run animal centre in Bawtry, the staff there have done a fantastic job, and they now have a much brighter and happier future ahead of them.”