'She simply cannot be trusted to own animals' say police after Northumberland dog breeder is jailed
Police say a dog breeder jailed for a string of animal welfare offences “simply cannot be trusted to own animals”.
Lynn Stoker, 63, was locked up for 21 weeks last week and banned from owning animals for life after Northumbria Police and the RSPCA found more than 110 pets living in shocking conditions.
Dogs were discovered in rooms and outbuildings across her Northumberland property with a number of them kept in training cages, dirty kennels and even crates.
Stoker, 63, of Byrness Village, near Otterburn, was also fined £50,000 by Bedlington magistrates after she was convicted of 15 offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 following a trial.
The police and RSPCA officers executed a joint warrant to search the her sprawling Raw House Farm home in May last year after concerns were raised over the number of animals living there and the manner in which they were treated.
One-hundred-and-seven dogs - many suffering from ear infections and dental issues - six puppies, three tortoises and two cats were discovered living in unsuitable conditions and were placed in RSPCA care.
Responding this week to Stoker's sentencing, PC Peter Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was an incredibly distressing case that saw more than 100 animals neglected and made to live in horrific conditions.
“Some animals were found in dirty and dingy kennels, which were clearly overcrowded, and many did not have any access to water or food.
“It is clear that Stoker showed a total disregard for the welfare of the animals in her care. There was urine and faeces all over the floor - she simply cannot be trusted to own animals.
“This conviction was possible because of some outstanding partnership work with the RSPCA and I hope this sentence sends out a strong message that any pet owner who fails to ensure their animal’s welfare could face criminal action."Anyone who witnesses cruelty or an animal in distress should contact the RSPCA direct or 101.”
The court heard Stoker was first visited by the RSPCA in November 2017 and was offered help such as free vaccinations, neutering, health checks and treatment as well as assistance rehoming some of the dogs to bring the numbers down to a more manageable level. Eleven dogs were signed over to the charity’s care for rehoming and officers arranged for vouchers for neutering and help for medical care for Stoker’s animals too.But after five months of offers of help from the animal welfare charity, the situation – described by RSPCA inspector Heidi Cleaver as “chaotic” – by had not improved.