A COUPLE kept three dogs in ‘unsanitary conditions’ and had a host of pets at their home – despite being banned from owning animals for life.
Michael and Claire Simpson, 48 and 38 respectively, who owned a cat, eight goldfish, two terrapins and a school of a tropical fish, were looking after the pet dogs at their premises.
The pair were caught out after a visit from police on December 19 of last year on an unrelated matter.
They spotted three King Charles Cavalier Spaniels being kept in a dog run at the rear of the property.
An RSPCA inspector was called to the couple’s address, on Reay Crescent in Boldon Colliery, where they found the dogs being kept in an area full of faeces - some old and some new - with no access to water.
The couple admitted keeping the cat, terrapins, goldfish and tropical fish, but said they had been looking after the three dogs for Mrs Simpson’s mother, who was ill in hospital, for just four days.
Both pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching a lifetime ban from owning animals and two animal welfare charges, in relation to not providing a suitable environment or a constant supply of fresh drinking water for the three dogs, at an earlier hearing.
They were back before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday to be sentenced.
They had been given a lifetime animal disqualification at Sunderland Magistrates in 2001, for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Judith Curry said: “The three dogs were taken to a vet and were found to have coats with a pungent smell, smelt of urine and had urine staining on their legs and faeces staining on their hind legs. There were earmites on all animals.
“The cat had a mild allergic reaction to fleas and had ventral alopecia. All were treated for fleas. The vet found living conditions were not suitable for the animals - there needs were not being met. There was lack of drinking water and unsanitary conditions.”
Defending, Chris Wilson said: “It is in excess of 10 years ago they were before Sunderland Magistrates to be given an order of a life ban. Both have adhered to that for over ten years. They have both entered guilty pleas. Mrs Simpson’s mother was admitted to hospital and couldn’t pay for the dogs to be put in kennels. Mr and Mrs Simpson took the spur of the moment decision to look after the dogs. Both have been genuinely remorseful. THey understand they will be prohibited from owning animals again. They are both horrified to appear before the court today. It has weighed heavily on their minds. “
Chairman of the bench, Dorothy Gibson, disqualified both from owning animals or being party to the arrangements for the keeping of animals for life. Neither can come back to court to attempt to amend the decision for a period of ten years.
Both were also given a community order with supervision for 12 months, 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £75 vet costs, as well as £200 each for court costs.