Owner who couldn’t afford vet’s bills for injured dogs escapes cruelty ban

NO BAN: Dog owner Sarah Knutsen pictured outside Sunderland Magistrates' Court.
NO BAN: Dog owner Sarah Knutsen pictured outside Sunderland Magistrates' Court.
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A WOMAN who failed to seek treatment for her dogs after they attacked each other will still be allowed to keep pets.

Sarah Knutsen, who has a previous conviction for allowing her dogs to be out of control, attempted to clean up the wounds on her Staffordshire bull terrier Ty and one of her other five dogs Ruby, when they turned on each other.

She tried her best, but her best wasn’t good enough.

Richard Rodger, defending

The 38-year-old, from Romney Avenue in Columbia, Washington, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Ty and failing in her duty as a person responsible to meet the welfare needs of Ruby in a case brought by the RSPCA.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court has fined her £20 for the offences.

Underweight Ty was left with puncture wounds and a swollen left front leg, while Ruby also had similar wounds to her face, ears and legs after the incident last September.

Both have since been signed over to the RSPCA for rehoming, leaving her with young dogs Little Fella, Bullseye and Splat.

Richard Rodger, mitigating, said explained Knutsen had been the victim of abuse, which had left her struggling to cope.

He added: “Unfortunately something happened between the dogs and they started to attack each other, and there were two incidents where both dogs were injured where quite clearly they required some form of treatment from a vet.

“She tried to treat them herself, for the puncture wounds, but at this time was unable to afford the vets’ fees.

“She tried her best, but her best wasn’t good enough, but it wasn’t intentional.

“She is still a fit and proper person to look after animals, and quite frankly, five dogs is to much for her.”

Magistrates gave her a six-month community order with supervision.

They also ordered her to pay a £20 fine, £60 for photo costs, £98 in vet fees, £100 in legal costs, £100 towards boarding kennel fees and a £60 surcharge.

She was not banned from keeping animals, with the bench telling her she had “learned her lesson.”

Knutsen, who is on employment support allowance, was previously been taken to court after Little Fella and Bullseye turned on jogger Gary Addison as he was running in Biddick Lane, Fatfield, in October.

The dogs knocked him to the ground and dragged him as he tried to fight them off, leaving him with wounds to his leg, buttock and back.

Knutsen admitted two counts of being in charge of a dog causing injury while dangerously out of control.

Magistrates on that occasion ordered her to pay £600 in compensation and an order was made to destroy the dogs, but that was later overturned on appeal.