Dog breeder convicted of cruelty to 14 dogs

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A woman from Crawley, West Sussex, was banned from keeping animals for live after being convicted of seven cruelty offences relating to 14 dogs. She also received a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 10 rehabilitation activity requirement sessions.

RSPCA officers visited a property in Crawley on 6 April 2021 after concerns were raised about the welfare of a large number of animals living at the home. Sussex Police obtained a warrant and officers returned on 8 April with an independent vet, seizing a total of 16 dogs and two cats who were later signed over for rehoming by the RSPCA.

Officers who visited the home found Chihuahuas and rottweilers being kept in the front room and upstairs while spaniels were living in a small, dirty back room.

RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley, who led the investigation, said in his witness statement, “The interior of the house was dimly lit. The ‘living room’ area with a sofa and very large TV was accessible by the cats, rottweilers and chihuahuas. There were food and water bowls in this area.

“To the rear of this was an area of approximately 4m x 2.5m which contained the spaniels. This area had a strong smell and the walls and floor were stained with either faeces or dirt or a mixture of the two.

“There was a human bed in this area with a mattress. The mattress was stained brown and there were blankets on it which were also brown and covered in faeces or mud.”

He added, “The floor had concrete missing in places and two dogs were cowering in the area where a draw was missing from a wooden chest of drawers. There were no water or food bowls in this area. In this area I saw packs of dog food but this was not accessible to the dogs.

“I was alarmed by the condition of many of these animals and there seemed to be a general lack of care for these animals. The spaniels looked like they had been roughly de-matted with a sharp implement and some of these dogs had open wounds.”

The vet checked all of the animals and found many of them had untreated dental disease, ear infections, eye conditions and skin problems, while some were lame and one had infected wounds.

Two of the spaniels were considered, by the vet, to be in a ‘severe condition’. A female brown spaniel, called Betty who was rushed to vets for emergency treatment.

Clarke’s failure to provide veterinary treatment for the dogs had caused a number of them to “suffer for a variety of reasons”.

At her trial, it was established that Jay Clarke was “an experienced dog owner and breeder who had previously shown dogs so had a good knowledge of the care they needed”. Magistrates found that “despite her disability, she was aware that the dogs were suffering and hadn’t acted on previous advice or sought help”.

Images by RSPCA

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