Couple banned from keeping dogs after police raid 'worst kennel' which fed them bread and fast food

Officers found kennels at the property were in a poor state. Credit: PA

A couple from Horley in Surrey have been given suspended prison sentences, after a court found they caused unnecessary suffering to multiple animals in their care.

On Thursday, 15 April 2021, Tandridge Safer Neighbourhood Team conducted a warrant at an address in Shipley Bridge, where 20 dogs were seized under the Animal Welfare Act.

All have since been rehomed, but Police say some of the dogs are still struggling to understand that there are 'kind people in the world'.

Officers found kennels at the property were in a poor state, with dirt floors, damaged roofs and layers of faeces that hadn't been cleaned.

Wildlife and Rural Crime officer PC Laura Rowley described Kennel 10 as “the worst kennel I have been in during my police career…the smell that came from this kennel was the worst I have smelt.” 

Upon further investigation investigating officer PC Lee Newman established that the basic diet these dogs existed on was bread and McDonald's

A before and after picture of one of the dogs rescued. Credit: Surrey Police

On Tuesday, 19 September 2023, Joshua Brown (DOB 02/08/1991) and Mary-Lou Brown (DOB 15/12/1990) were sentenced at Staines Magistrates Court for causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and for not meeting the needs of an animal for which they were responsible.

Joshua Brown was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months and 200 hours unpaid work.

Mary-Lou Brown was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months and 120 hours unpaid work.

Both were ordered to pay £5,000 compensation each (£10,000 total) and both are disqualified from owning or controlling dogs or horses for 10 years.

A Dalmatian that was found at the kennels has been successfully rehomed. Credit: Surrey Police

Investigating officer PC Lee Newman said: “Over the course of my career the state these animals were found in were the worst I’ve ever seen. This investigation showed great partnership working between the Police and our partner agencies to obtain the evidence to secure a successful conviction.

“The robust sentence imposed by the court goes to show that the Police and Criminal Justice System will work together to ensure that offenders will not get off lightly.

“It’s satisfying to see that the courts will take a serious stance on cruelty towards animals and while the victims of these offences were not human, they have been given the justice they deserve as much as anyone else.

“All 20 dogs have been successfully rehomed and are now thriving with their new families.”

PC Laura Rowley said: “The defendants tried to use the defence of "we didn't own them" to justify the maltreatment of these animals. This case should hopefully serve as a reminder that it's everyone's duty of care to make sure an animal doesn't suffer.

“Thankfully, all dogs have now been rehomed, although a couple are still struggling with understanding that there are kind people in the world.”

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