Video: Dog’s leg had to be amputated and pony ended up dangling by the neck over the edge of a cliff - RSPCA highlight region’s cruelty cases
10:41 18 June 2014
A dog with an infected leg which had to be amputated and a pony who ended up dangling by the neck over the edge of a cliff are among the cases of animal cruelty prosecuted by the RSPCA in East Anglia last year.
• RSPCA Week runs from June 14 to 22 and is an annual fundraising and awareness drive.
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• The Prosecutions Annual Report can be downloaded here.
In the East, there were 82 people convicted in 2013, a slight decrease from 150 in 2012.
Nationally there were 1,371 people convicted, down from 1,552 last year.
RSPCA superintendent for the region, Paul Stilgoe, said: “The UK is known as a nation of animal lovers and yet once again we have seen some truly heartbreaking sights this year, and animals suffering in horrific ways.
“It is heartening that there has not been a rise in the number of defendants convicted this year, but we are still seeing far to many horrendous cases of cruelty as these case studies show.
“It is really difficult to say what drives people to act in such utterly pointless cruel ways, and neglect their animals to such an extent. In some cases people just don’t know what an animal needs or financial circumstances can lead to difficulties, whilst others find organised cruelty, or deliberate violence towards an animal acceptable.
“We will always try to work with people and re-educate where possible, but there will always be some people who think it is alright to beat, kick, kill, starve or neglect an animal and times when the only way to stop them is to prosecute.”
One of the cases being highlighted by the RSPCA is that of a man who ran a Norfolk seal sanctuary and who was disqualified from keeping seals for five years after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a grey seal called Hope by failing to provide her with veterinary treatment.
Hope was found at the Winterton sanctuary emaciated, with a thick green discharge from her left eye and an ulcerated wound down to the bone on her front left flipper. She was shivering with cold and kept in a very small tank of dirty water with no dry space - a huge concern as thin seals without fat insulation to keep them warm are prone to hypothermia if unable to get out of the water.
Five seals, including Hope, were removed from the sanctuary by police and made a good recovery while in the care of staff at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife centre and they were all successfully released back into the wild. Sadly, a further 10 dead seals were found at the location.
The man pleaded not guilty at Great Yarmouth magistrates court and the matter proceeded to a three day trial. The District Judge found him guilty in absence and disqualified him from keeping seals for five years. He also received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £250 costs.
The figures are detailed in the charity’s prosecutions annual report, released today, which also revealed that nationally the charity received more calls to its cruelty line in 2013 than ever and investigated almost 3,000 more complaints than in 2012.
The number of calls received increased from 1,163,428 in 2012 to 1,327,849 in 2013.
These included 153,770 complaints of cruelty which had to be investigated by inspectors, an increase from 150,833 in 2012.
The figures showed an incredible 585 of the total convictions involved equines (horses, donkeys and ponies), up from 500 in 2012 and a large 154% increase from 2011’s 230.
They also show that dogs were still the most likely animal to be involved in cruelty cases, with 2,505 related convictions, although encouragingly this was slightly down on 2,568 the year before.
Pony tethered close to Lowestoft cliff ended up dangling by neck
A man was jailed for eight weeks after leaving his young cob so close to a cliff that the animal ended up dangling by his neck over the edge.
The piebald colt had been tethered close to the cliff edge near Lowestoft and had fallen, leaving him hanging by the neck.
RSPCA inspector Nicky Thorne was called out to the incident in March 2013 and scrambled up the cliff to find the horse still breathing and cut him loose from his tether with her pocketknife.
She then sat with the horse, who she nicknamed Frank, wrapping him in her coats until the fire service arrived.
The pony was unconscious and the fire service gave him oxygen and took turns sitting and holding his head, wrapping him in covers and tarpaulins to keep him warm.
The 54-year-old from the Lowestoft area pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the pony at Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court in October 2013 and as well as the jail sentence disqualified from keeping animals for 15 years,
Inspector Thorne said: “Dozens of people were involved in trying to save that poor little pony on a cold, wet and windy night – but just one person was responsible for leaving him tethered beside a steep cliff and then hanging by his neck over the edge.
“The prison sentence shows how seriously the court took this case and should act as a deterrent against the reckless use of tethers on horses left unattended like this.”
Dog had to have leg amputated
A man was disqualified from keeping dogs after one of his pet’s legs became so infected it dissolved the bone.
The RSPCA discovered three emaciated Staffordshire Bull Terriers covered in sores and living in a garden in Norwich, Norfolk in March 2013. The dogs, called Bob, Star and George, were so thin their back bones were clearly visible and their teeth were stained from eating faeces.
The infection on Bob’s leg was so severe it had dissolved the bone and his whole leg had to be amputated.
Inspector Emily Astillberry said: “All three dogs were living on a concrete floor in their own filth. They were emaciated and were covered in pressure sores, which had become infected from living in their own filth.”
She added: “One of the dogs, Bob, had a sore on his front left leg – his elbow joint. It has become so infected it had dissolved the bone – it was awful.
“The vet said she’d never come across an infection so deep it had dissolved the bone before.
Sadly Bob’s leg had to be amputated as a result, but he has since been rehomed and renamed Stan.
The dogs’ owner, a 45-year-old man, pleaded guilty to three counts of causing unnecessary suffering contrary to section four of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 when he appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court in November 2013.
He was given a two year conditional discharge, disqualified from keeping dogs for five years and ordered to pay £500 costs.
The defendant later appealed against his sentence. His sentence was upheld, the appeal was dismissed and he was then ordered to pay extra costs of £200.