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Magistrate and her daughter convicted


A magistrate and her daughter from Leigh have been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to two West Highland white terriers.

Poppy the westie with sever skin condition wearing baby jumper © RSPCA

Gail Bradshaw – a magistrate at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court for the past 30 years who has deliberated on RSPCA cases – and Nicola Bradshaw appeared before Preston Magistrates' Court for a two-day trial on Friday 6 and Monday 9 April.

They were found guilty of:

  1. on a day or dates between 1 April 2015 and 29 September 2017, causing unnecessary suffering to a West Highland white terrier called 'Poppy'
  2. on a day or dates between 29 November 2016 and 29 September 2017, causing unnecessary suffering to a West Highland white terrier called 'Holly', by failing to provide proper and necessary care and attention for their chronic and severe skin conditions.

Poppy was wearing a filthy baby jumper

RSPCA Inspector Vicki McDonald said:

The severity of the skin conditions and fur loss suffered by these dogs was the worst I’ve seen in my 15-year career.

They were in an absolutely shocking state.

When I first saw Poppy she was wearing a filthy baby jumper. Gail Bradshaw said she put it on her to keep her warm and to stop her scratching herself raw. When the vet tried to remove the jumper it had stuck to Poppy’s weeping skin around her armpits, chest and front legs.

Holly the westie with sever skin condition © RSPCA

The court heard that visits to the vets with Poppy in 2014 and 2015 established the cause of her fur loss and skin infection but the Bradshaws were inconsistent in following the treatment plans.

When the advice was followed improvements were seen but the lack of consistency in following the treatment properly would cause Poppy to deteriorate again. A new treatment plan was put in place in March 2015 by the vet with the advice to return in seven to ten days, but Poppy was never taken back.

Both dogs had pet insurance which could have covered the treatment

Vicki added:

Gail Bradshaw said she didn’t think the vet treatment was working so decided to self treat the condition after seeking advice from the internet and friends. However over the following two years Poppy's condition deteriorated to the state she was found in when I attended.

When Holly started to get similar symptoms in early 2017 she was never taken to the vet. This is despite both dogs having 'ultimate' Petplan insurance which could have covered the treatment.

Upon conviction, magistrates said that Gail Bradshaw’s recollection of the previous vet visits were vague. She offered no credible explanation for not following the treatment plans or seeking further vet treatment.

In respect of Nicola Bradshaw, who declined to give evidence or be cross examined, they said that she had declined to offer any evidence or explanation.

Poppy and Holly are currently in our care pending the outcome of the case, since arriving their conditions have improved rapidly.

The case was adjourned until 2pm on Tuesday 8 May at Preston Magistrates’ Court for a pre-sentencing report.

You might be surprised by some of the shocking animal cruelty stories we encounter.

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