Woman fined £5,000 for ‘extreme neglect’ of animals

By Aaron Kendall   |   Assistant Editor   |
Friday 25th January 2019 8:09 am
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A WASHFORD woman said to have allowed nearly 20 animals and birds to suffer in squalid conditions with untreated health problems, has been fined £5,000 and banned from keeping pets for five years.

Sentencing Heather Stanton, 60, of Williton Road, Washford, at North Somerset Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (January 16), Judge David Taylor also imposed an £85 victim surcharge and issued a community order for 80 hours of unpaid work.

Stanton was deprived of her animals, which will be rehoused.

After a prosecution brought by the RSPCA, Stanton was found guilty of 12 offences and pleaded guilty to a further two under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. She was was banned from keeping dogs, cats, birds and tortoises for five years.

The court was told the case came to light after Stanton presented two of her dogs for veterinary examination. Veterinary surgeons were concerned for the welfare of the dogs and for other animals at her property.

A visit was made to Stanton’s home, where 12 dogs, a cat, six birds and a tortoise were housed in inappropriate conditions. Many of the animals were also found to have chronic health conditions that had been left untreated.

Following a vet’s examination, police seized the animals and placed them in the care of the RSPCA.

The charges, under the Animal Welfare Act, related to causing unnecessary suffering to animals at her Washford home in January and February last year.

They included failing to treat the poor bodily condition of a female Pomeranian-cross dog named Betty, and the bodily condition, skin condition and eye infection of Rosie, a female Leonberger.

She was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a Jack Russell named Bobby-Jack, who had bodily and ear problems, and failing to deal with the eczema of Paddy, a Pomeranian, and the severe dental disease of Flora, another Pomeranian.

Other charges rerated to causing unnecessary suffering to two Chinese crested -type dogs named Lily and Charlie, who had a severe skin conditions.

A third Chinese crested dog, Phoebe, was found to have cataracts in both eyes, patches of hair loss, and severe tartar on her teeth.

Stanton was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier type dog named Jethro, who had a chronic skin condition and dental disease, and Sambo, a collie with poor bodily condition and ear and eye infections.

She denied mistreating a cat known as Napoleon who had cataracts in both eyes, patches of hair loss and severe tartar on the teeth, but was found guilty of the offence.

She was also found guilty of not taking reasonable steps to ensure that an African grey parrot, two Amazon parrots, two Senegal parrots, a cockatoo and a tortoise were provided with a suitable environment.

She denied causing unnecessary suffering to a white lion-head rabbit by confining the animal to the detriment of its wellbeing, but was found guilty.

At a previous hearing in Taunton in December, two cases involving the mistreatment of dogs were dropped but Stanton was found guilty of all other charges and Judge Taylor adjourned the case until last week for pre-sentence reports.

After the hearing, RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel, who investigated the case for the charity, said: “This was an upsetting case of extreme neglect for which there can be no excuse. Stanton had more animals than she could cope with and was unable to care for them adequately.

“As a result, sadly, many of the animals were suffering. All owners are responsible for meeting the needs of the animals in their care and we now look forward to finding these animals the loving homes they deserve.”

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