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Owner gets dogs ban for terriers' neglect

PUBLISHED: 17:37 26 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:43 23 August 2010

SCRAWNY: These under-weight terriers have been nursed back to health, but at a huge cost.

SCRAWNY: These under-weight terriers have been nursed back to health, but at a huge cost.

AN RSPCA inspector found EIGHTEEN underweight flea-ravaged terriers in the kitchen of a council house, a court heard. Unemployed Mark Willson, 46, of York Road, Gravesend, who owned the Jack Russell dogs, admitted two offences of unnecessary suffering a

AN RSPCA inspector found EIGHTEEN underweight flea-ravaged terriers in the kitchen of a council house, a court heard.

Unemployed Mark Willson, 46, of York Road, Gravesend, who owned the Jack Russell dogs, admitted two offences of unnecessary suffering and one of failing to provide a suitable diet and parasite control.

He was banned from owning animals for 10 years at Dartford Magistrates' Court and ordered to be tagged on a night curfew for six months.

Chairman Rodney Chambers said they had gone to the limit they could impose with the sentence.

He said: This is something that gives us cause for concern.

"You have permitted defenceless animals to be neglected in this way and not taken appropriate action to assist them in their suffering."

On a scale of one for emaciated to five obese, three were at 0.5 and six were at one. Of the others, only three managed to reach level two.

RSPCA inspectors spent £6,728.31 on vet fees after discovering them, boarding fees came to £1,289.34 and costs of the RSPCA investigation and prosecution came to £3,500.

Andrew Wiles, for the RSPCA, said a woman inspector had been called to the house, Willson later said he had called the inspector, but Mr Wiles said it had been a member of the public, on October 29.

He told the court: "Mr Willson invited her in, and she found a number of dogs locked in the kitchen area. Mr Willson released them."

Willson said he wanted her to have 14 of the dogs because he was "struggling to cope." He said two of the dogs belonged to him and his wife, two to his son and 14 to his daughter - but his wife and daughter were not living there at the time.

During the visit he claimed to have taken one dog to the vets a couple of years before but not since then. He claimed to be in a "nightmare" situation and claimed he needed a "little farm."

As Mr Wiles read out the condition of each dog, he said some had "horrendous" flea problems, and surgery was required for many.

Some had overgrown nails showing lack of exercise and he said it was obvious they had been competing for food and water. There was evidence of "chronic malnourishment."

Mr Wiles said Willson, of previous good character, had claimed "they are just a bit skinny. They need fattening up and defleaing."

Defending Mr Karamjit Singh said: "He was struggling. He tried his best but couldn't not cope."

Photographs of the dogs - six males and 12 bitches - were shown to the magistrates.

Willson was also ordered to pay £500 costs.

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