Man jailed after 36 neglected dogs found in filthy Eastbourne property

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A man was jailed for causing suffering to 36 dogs

A man has been jailed for 18 weeks after causing unnecessary suffering to 36 dogs, who were found in a filthy property in Eastbourne in June last year.

RSPCA Inspector Cora Peeters visited the address in June 2021 along with police. She found “several Yorkshire Terrier and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs who were skinny with matted fur”. The dogs were living in filthy and “extremely smelly” conditions.

Cora said, “The property smelt very strongly of faeces and urine even through the mask I was wearing. When we opened the door, the noise level trebled and was quite unbearable. We were greeted by a sea of little faces all standing on top of each other in desperation to get to the door.

“The room was poorly lit but I could still tell a large number of these dogs were extremely underweight, their coats looked crusty and dreadlocked and the smell of urine and faeces was awful in the stuffy and airless room.”

Inspector Peeters worked with her colleagues and the police to remove 36 dogs in total. A deceased dog was found lying in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Inspector Peeters added, “The dogs, on the whole, were friendly but nervous and were barking excitedly. The smell was overpowering and the conditions were extremely poor and filthy with slippery floors and dirty walls splattered with muddy dog prints. I saw no evidence of food or water, just two filthy metal bowls against a mud encrusted wall.”

Many of the dogs were “skinny or even completely emaciated”, with one male Yorkshire Terrier weighing just 2.15 kgs. Others were suffering from overgrown claws, gingivitis, periodontal disease, alopecia. One male Yorkshire Terrier was suffering from a tumour to his testicle, and many of the dogs had matted coats soiled in faeces.

A vet report concluded,  “It is my opinion that the majority of dogs suffered as a result of the conditions in which they were being kept. All those dogs with a condition score of 2 or less were, in my opinion, suffering as they were too thin. Dogs with a condition score of 3 were likely to suffer if left at the premises.

“The dogs with periodontal disease were also suffering as this condition causes pain and distress and can predispose heart and kidney disease. The period of suffering would vary for each dog but I would estimate it to be from four to 12 weeks.”

Christopher Mark Bennett was sentenced at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on 22 August, after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs. Bennett was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment and was disqualified from keeping all animals.

A woman, Gemma Brogan, was previously sentenced in February after pleading guilty to similar charges. She was sentenced to an 18 week prison sentence, suspended for 24 months. She was banned from keeping all animals for five years and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work as well as 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days. She was also ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge.

The dogs, some of which were pregnant and had puppies, were taken into the care of the RSPCA in Brighton, Kent and Surrey and were rehabilitated before being rehomed.

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