Border Collie Rescue - Natalia - RSPCA Cruelty Case

23 Sep 2008 08:01 0
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Border Collie Rescue took Natalia in from the RSPCA in February 2008.
The Border Collie had been siezed by the RSPCA, along with another dog, after a tip off.

The husband and wife who confined their two pet dogs to the kitchen for two years, with one running round in circles for so long it wore a groove in the lino, have been banned for life from keeping animals.

Magistrates at Harrogate heard how the couple caused unnecessary suffering to Charmaine, a tan coloured Dobermann who was starved to the point of death and neglected Natalia, a Border collie which as well as constant circling had tried to claw her way through the kitchen door to freedom.

Each pleaded guilty to four charges brought by the RSPCA under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.

They admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to Charmaine and two charges of failing to ensure the needs of both dogs were met to the extent that they exhibited normal behaviour patterns.

Prosecutor Stuart Berry said RSPCA Inspector Mike Pugh went to the couple's home and found Charmaine, who was sunken-eyed, collapsed and lying on her side in the kitchen with faeces on the floor, to be so emaciated a vet had to put her down.

She had been unable to stand without assistance, her spine, ribs and pelvic bones were clearly visible and she had weighed 19.6kilos rather than the norm of 33kilos.

Natalia, the Border Collie, who had been exhibiting abnormal behaviour, constantly running round in a tight circle, had gone to Border Collie Rescue after a week of intensive veterinary care and her behaviour had improved.

She had had smelly, scabby sores on her body.

The prosecuter said: ''The floor in the kitchen was worn, simply by the continual passage of the dog round and round in the same circle, indicating that this behaviour had been going on for some time.''

Marks on the door indicated attempts by the animals to claw their way out and the Forresters said they had not been outside for perhaps as long as two years.

Investigators were told that when Natalia was taken out she did not like noise or traffic and pulled on her lead. She got exercise by chasing a ball round the kitchen.

They were told of Charmaine: ''We did all we could. I didn't intentionally want to cause distress. I did my best and in hindsight I wish I could have overcome fear, bitten the bullet and taken her to the vet.''

But the couple had been frightened about her condition and how others, particularly a vet, might react.

In mitigation, the court was told the dogs had been bought seven or eight years ago, Charmaine for £500 and Natalia for £80, as pets for the couple's three children who had all now left home.

Both were upset and sorry at what had occurred and added that apart from the kitchen, the rest of the house had been out of bounds to the animals.

Both dogs had been ill with diarrhoea for some weeks and the couple chose to treat it by not feeding them. Then each time they tried food the problem recurred.

They realised now that they should have got help a lot earlier but believed they would be in trouble if they called in a vet, and so shut their eyes to the problems.

After reading probation reports on the couple the court chairman told them their dogs had suffered substantial harm and distress over a period of time.

They were each ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and to abide by a 9pm to 6am curfew daily for a month.

A lifetime ban on keeping animals was ordered on the couple who will also face a bill of £500 in prosecution costs.

The Border Collie is designed to be a sheepdog and was originally used for herding livestock in the English and Scottish Borders. Border Collie Rescue assesses all dogs coming into our care for herding ability and will rehome them as stockdogs if that is what they need to do but we also assess and rehome for scent discrimination skills to the Police, Prison Service and Excise to detect drugs, explosives and firearms -- to SARDA and other rescue organisations for mountain rescue and search and rescue work -- to help deaf, blind or otherwise disabled people as well as for working trials, flyball, agility, obedience and other interactive sporting disciplines and many of our dogs have qualified for Crufts in these disciplines. Those that show us they do not need or want to work are rehomed as PAT dogs, pets and companions.

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