Wrexham man sent to prison after neglecting 11 dogs and puppies
A man from Wrexham has been sent to prison for 26 weeks for the neglect and suffering of a number of animals while in breach of a disqualification order.
Nicholas John Low, appeared at Wrexham Magistrates' Court for sentencing on Tuesday 18 July. He'd previously been found guilty following a trial on Wednesday 7 June of five offences under the Animal Welfare Act. He was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a yellow Labrador - who was found in an emaciated state. Another offence related to two puppies who were found dead. The third was in relation to a cat, who he had failed to provide veterinary treatment for a large polypoid affecting his ear. Another offence was that he failed to care for 11 dogs and puppies and a final offence was that he was keeping the animals - which included 11 dogs, three cats and a goose - in breach of a lifetime disqualification order.
He was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment each for three unnecessary suffering offences, 11 weeks imprisonment for failing to care for the dogs and 16 weeks for breach of the ban. They will all run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £154 to be paid within 28 days of release. He was given an indefinite disqualification from keeping any animals.
In a witness statement, provided to the court by RSPCA inspector Rachael Davies, she described the location - which she first attended on 11 November 2022 - as a clearing in the forest where the ground was muddy and there was lots of rubbish and recycled plastics, tins, bikes, bike wheels, plastic bags and general waste lying around.
She said: "I could see an extremely skinny yellow Labrador type dog and white long haired German Shepherd type dog tethered to what I would describe as some sort of trailer.
"The dogs had no access to any suitable shelter, there was a sodden cushion on the ground near the German Shepherd and lots of empty dirty metal bowls. I could clearly see all of the ribs and hips on the Labrador, and could easily feel her spine, her teats were enlarged."
In a caravan she found eight black and chocolate Labrador cross puppies who were "very small".
She said: "Inside the caravan were lots of old cabinets resting up against the sides, empty boxes and it was very dirty, not the type of environment where puppies should be kept as there were lots of places the puppies could potentially become trapped and it was very unsanitary. I didn't see any food or water bowls inside the caravan."
Inspector Davies advised Mr Low that the Labrador and the pups needed to be seen by a vet and that he needed to provide proper accommodation/kennels for the dogs but he was "disagreeable". She also asked if she could take them to a vet, but he declined help.
She later returned with animal rescue officer Melanie Froude and once again asked if she would be able to take the dogs to the vet, but he refused and she issued him with an Animal Welfare assessment warning notice.
It was soon discovered that Mr Low had been disqualified from keeping all animals for life - and the officers, for a third time that day, attended the address. Mr Low said he'd appealed the decision and declined to sign the animals over to the RSPCA.
Inspector Davies then sought to obtain a police warrant with North Wales Police. On Tuesday 22 November a police warrant was issued and inspector Davies described the conditions as much the same "just wetter and colder".
She said: "The German Shepherd was no longer tethered to the trailer with the Labrador and the puppies were roaming free in the forest clearing. Four of the puppies gathered together and huddled themselves around a lit fire bin just outside the caravan where they had been contained on my last visit.
"They were all very quiet and looked very cold and like that had lost condition since I had last seen them. The Labrador was still tethered to the same trailer and she also appeared to have lost condition looking a lot thinner. The water bowls that had been empty on my last visit now appeared to be filled with rain water."
Inspector Davies spoke with Mr Low and advised him that the information she had received back from court confirmed that the ban on all animals was upheld during his appeal so still stands. Three cats were found and "all appeared unkempt with dirty coats" with one of them appearing to be holding its head to the side. Two dead puppies were also found in a vehicle.
In total 13 animals were removed and placed in the care of the RSPCA, with the two dead puppies sent away for a post mortem.
In a vet statement provided to the court, "the preliminary post mortem for each of the puppies demonstrates that both were of poor body condition and suffering from high worm burdens; based on the findings thus far it is highly likely that these puppies starved to death."
The vet also confirmed that a tabby cat was found to have a burst abscess under his chin as well as thick pus coming out of his right ear. The Labrador was described as "thin with a body condition score of one out of nine where one is emaciated and nine is obese, she weighed 16.1kg."
Six puppies were all examined and were estimated to be aged between eight and 10 weeks old. It was said they were "small in stature and all of thin body condition, two out of nine, with poor muscling over their bodies. "Their ribs and spines were prominently visible but their abdomens appeared slightly swollen; indicating a likely high worm burden, as a recent meal was not reported to have been given. All the puppies were very quiet throughout their examination so a spot blood glucose level was obtained from them all to ensure this was adequate which it was."
The 13 animals have been doing well in RSPCA with the Labrador and pups settling in well in foster homes. The animals will now be found forever homes.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please donate online or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.