Melanie Jayne Melville, a 39-year-old of Hawthorne Avenue, Hull, was sentenced on Thursday (28 March) after pleading guilty to three Animal Welfare Act offences of failing to meet the needs of the dogs.

The RSPCA became involved when members of the public contacted police after one of the dogs - a terrier named Smallie - was found with injuries caused by fighting with other dogs.

The dog was taken to a vet where sadly his injuries were so serious he was put to sleep. The police contacted the RSPCA after concerns were raised about the conditions the animals were living in.

When RSPCA Inspector Jilly Dickinson visited Melville’s home, she found nine dogs living in poor conditions inside the house and in the garden.

Inspector Dickinson said:

The environment was not at all suitable for these dogs, who were all very nervous. Overall there had been ten but sadly Smallie was put to sleep after his injuries.

Inspector Jilly Dickinson

When Inspector Dickinson visited the following month, the conditions had not changed. She said: "There was an overwhelming smell which had become ingrained into the carpet. During this visit I also witnessed the dogs urinating inside. We had given Melville a chance to improve the conditions but sadly none were made.”

Credit: RSPCA

As the dogs had had little socialisation, they did not know how to walk on a lead, which meant that when Inspector Dickinson removed the animals, all but two had to be carried into her van.The court heard that when the nine dogs were examined by a vet, all but two of them had scars consistent with fighting one another.

“This is a sad situation where we tried to work with the owner to improve the dogs’ lives but sometimes we find that advice is not followed,” added Inspector Dickinson.

The nine dogs who were removed from Melville’s house have improved since going into the RSPCA’s care, in July last year.

Inspector Dickinson said:

They have all improved massively. They were so nervous at first but they are now much better with people and other dogs.

Inspector Jilly Dickinson

As well as a 10-year ban on keeping animals, magistrates ordered Melville to pay £350 costs, an £85 victim surcharge, ordered her to do 200 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a 15-day rehabilitation activity.

They also ordered the nine dogs to be signed over to the RSPCA’s care.