The RSPCA released this distressing video of the dogs found in crates at a house
A couple from Lancashire have received suspended prison sentences after the RSPCA found 25 animals including numerous dogs in crates at their house.The inspector found that one small room in the Lancashire home contained 12 dogs, eight of whom were living in wire cages stacked on top of one another with no bedding, food or water.
One particularly distressed dog, a tan and white bull type called Tank, was panting and constantly spinning around because of the cramped conditions she was being kept in.
The inspector said that the conditions of the Colne property 'made her eyes water and forced her to cough', as animal faeces lined the walls and floor.
Kieran Hands, 32, and April Pearce, 32, have now been banned from keeping all animals for five years and given 18-week prison sentences - suspended for two years - following a sentencing hearing at Blackburn Magistrates Court on 4 April.The couple had each admitted nine animal welfare offences at an earlier hearing following a prosecution by the RSPCA.
Magistrates heard how RSPCA inspector Emma Dingley had gone to the property on 25 June last year after the charity had received a concerned call about a dog with matted fur.On arrival the inspector was met by Pearce and Hands who told her that their dogs were “scruffy” but there were no welfare concerns.
In her evidence, inspector Dingley said: “Conditions in the house were very poor, very dirty and there were lots of hazards.
"The smell of dog faeces and urine hit me as soon as I entered the property.
"There were dogs in the front room of the house and the kitchen and multiple dogs loose and caged in the living room.“I could hear more dogs in the front room so asked if I could have a look at these.
"The conditions in this room were shocking.
"The smell of ammonia was so bad it made my eyes water and made me cough.
"There were crates on top of crates, all containing dogs.
"None of these crates had any bedding in them and all the dogs were standing on the wire base of the crates.
"There was no food or water in any of them.”
The court heard how a bearded dragon called Mal was living in a vivarium on a counter in the kitchen, along with a large Malamute crossbreed called Tazz, who was confined behind a gate.
Pearce and Hands had attempted to shave his heavily matted coat but had only done a small section on his back.His fur was yellow and the smell coming from him was described by inspector Dingley as “awful”.When asked if they had any more animals both defendants said no.
However, two cats called Thunder and Rain - both in poor condition with obvious skin issues - were found upstairs, along with seven pet rats in a bedroom.
A terrapin called Malibu was also living in a bath which had water but no dry resting area, heat or UV.An empty bottle of ‘First Strike K9 spray’ was found in front of one of the crates and as soon as the inspector picked it up all the dogs stopped barking.
The court heard that Pearce and Hands told the officer they used the sprays to keep them quiet.Police seized all of the animals and handed them into the care of the RSPCA, where they were transported to the charity’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for assessment.The vet who examined the animals said all of the dogs - which included numerous male and female huskies, collies, a Staffordshire bull terrier and a chihuahua - had unkempt coats and flea infestations.
Six of them, as well as both cats, were in a suffering state at the time, the court heard.Several dogs also had stiff and painful limbs which were causing them discomfort.“I would expect a responsible dog owner to seek veterinary attention should their pet become itchy, moreover if they could visibly see fleas and were scratching excessively,” said the vet in her evidence.
“I would expect them to notice changes in their dog’s behaviour.
"The average dog owner is able to establish if their dog is getting stiff or painful.“The owner of the animals involved has failed to meet their needs by failing to obtain veterinary advice, resulting in a compromised welfare and suffering state that could have been avoided.”Some of the dogs had been suffering for a period of weeks, if not longer, added the vet.The dogs and cats received vaccinations, steroids and flea, worm and ear treatments.
They were all cared for by the RSPCA and went to the charity’s branches including Southport, Ormskirk & District, Warrington, Halton & St Helens, Leeds, Wakefield & District as well as Gonsal Farm Animal Centre and RSPCA Reptile Rescue.Apart from one dog, who was sadly put to sleep on veterinary advice due to severe leg and back issues, many have already been rehomed by the charity.In addition to the suspended prison sentence and five-year disqualification order, Hands and Pearce were both given a two-year community order with 25 RAR days and each ordered to pay costs of £600 and a victim surcharge of £154.In mitigation the court heard how the couple were animal lovers and had been accepting rescue animals and taken on too many.
Pearce had lost her job and her partner was working six days a week and the animals’ care had all fallen on her.
She said that she knew what she was doing but hadn’t noticed some of their ailments and she was treating them herself, rather than going to a vet.Speaking after the case, inspector Dingley said: “I remember very clearly the day the animals were all removed from those awful conditions and the feeling many hours later when they had all received medication, a meal and were sleeping in a warm bed.“It was a huge team effort and I’d like to thank Lancashire Police’s Rural Task Force Team who assisted on the day, the vets and all our branches and rehoming centres."