Man sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to injured dog

Man sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to injured dog

A Stoke on Trent man has been sentenced after causing unnecessary suffering to a French Bulldog who was found with an infected wound. 

Greg Cashmore, appeared at Telford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (13 February) for sentencing. It followed a hearing in August 2023 where he pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

One offence related to Star, a blue and fawn female French bulldog. Cashmore caused unnecessary suffering to her by failing to provide veterinary treatment for her injuries. He also didn't meet the needs of a dark brindle bull lurcher known as Django. He failed to protect Django from receiving repetitive injuries sustained by a tan and white bull lurcher known as Thor and didn't seek treatment for injuries.

Cashmore was sentenced to a total of 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to complete a 20-day activity requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work, pay £600 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping all animals for five years. Before the sentencing hearing, Cashmore signed over all three dogs into the RSPCA's care for rehoming.

In mitigation, it was heard that Cashmore has struggled with his mental health. The court heard that Star had sustained injuries after fighting with another dog and, although she had received initial emergency treatment from a vet, she was discharged and the advice for follow up vet care wasn't followed although evidence of stitching and stapling of a wound in her armpit was later found.

On 31 March 2022, a police warrant took place at the Churchill Road property. RSPCA Special Operations Unit Officer (SOU), Jason Bowles, in his statement provided to the court, said he entered the back garden and saw a number of well-built kennels in good condition containing dogs. There was a male tan and white bull lurcher with scarring to muzzle and a swollen, red joint to the right front paw. This dog, named Thor, was seized by the police. In another kennel there was a brindle bull lurcher male with scarring to nose and muzzle and a healed lower jaw injury to the left side of his mouth. This dog, named Django, was also seized by police. 

The court heard that inspector Bowles was then made aware of an incident on 17 June 2022 involving a French Bulldog called Star - who he said he later recognised from being at the property on the day of the warrant. It was confirmed that Star sustained injuries after fighting with another dog.

In a written statement from the attending officer - RSPCA Inspector Rachel Leafe - stated she met a woman who showed Star lookinh "extremely lame on her left foreleg and was hardly weight bearing on it at all. There was a discoloured fluid around the top of the left foreleg which was running down the leg and chest. The fluid looked very unpleasant. My first thoughts were that the injury looked infected." She asked if Star had received vet treatment for the injuries and was shown an email from a pet insurer authorising a claim which was dated 15 June 2022 and an email from a vet who saw and treated Star on 5 June 2022.

Inspector Leafe phoned the vet who confirmed Star had been seen and given initial emergency treatment with the recommendation that she was admitted for further treatment. However, this advice was not followed and although it was said that Star went to another vet at a home address - no evidence of this was given.

It was agreed for Star to be taken for a veterinary examination by the RSPCA and after a full vet assessment it was found that she was suffering and was subsequently seized by police and placed into the care of the RSPCA. 

In a written statement provided to the court, the vet who examined Star said: "... in my experience the combination of staples and stitching present seems unlikely from a qualified experienced vet. The stitches removed were of a thick black material, possibly cotton thread rather than recognised modern veterinary suture. 

"Although some veterinary medicines (injectable antibiotics) and equipment (stapler) were at the premises it's my understanding that there were no oral medicines in appropriately labelled packaging or proof of veterinary care such as invoices presented to the inspector. In view of this, my findings and subsequent developments with the wound it's my professional opinion that this dog has been caused unnecessarily suffering from the 7/6/22 onwards.

"The failure to seek professional ongoing prompt veterinary care (after the first initial treatment) with ongoing monitoring has resulted in a deep seated infection and bone pathology, directly leading to bone fracture and the necessity for urgent radical surgery."

Star remained in intensive care from 17 June to 4 July while staff treated her for multiple infections - but sadly could not save her left foreleg which had to be amputated along with her shoulder blade in order for her to be saved. Luckily the operation was a success and Star has made a good recovery. 

Following the hearing, inspector Jason Bowles, said: "Star and Django have been in RSPCA foster care and both have been doing really well; Star has adjusted well to life with three legs. Despite going through a lot she's such a lovely dog and has really settled in with her foster carers. I'm so pleased she can now start her new life. When you're a pet owner you're responsible for ensuring they get the correct veterinary attention should they injure themselves or become sick. There's no excuse for leaving an animal in such pain."

Star, Django and Thor, who has been in kennels, can all now be rehomed.