RSPCA: Five banned from keeping animals

Five defendants were today (24 July) banned from keeping animals at Oxford Magistrates’ Court after a case brought by the RSPCA. Two were also given prison sentences.

The sentencing comes a month after they were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 11 animals and failing to meet the needs of 39 animals.

Angela Elizabeth Russell* (12/11/68) of Faringdon Road, Longworth, near Abingdon, was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison and banned from keeping animals for life; Frederick William Russell (02/08/31) of Faringdon Road was given a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and was banned from keeping animals for life; Robert Charles Edward Russell* (26/04/88) of Faringdon Road was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and banned from keeping animals for 10 years; Louise Rose Russell (14/11/90) of Faringdon Road was given a 12 week suspended prison sentence, a 10 year ban from keeping animals and a three month curfew order; Kirsty Isabell Russell (18/07/92) of Faringdon Road was banned from keeping all animals for 10 years and given a four month curfew order; and Abigail Danielle McHugh (16/05/92) of Pendennis Road, Freshbrook, Swindon was given a 12 month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.  Kirsty and Louise Russell and Abigail McHugh were also ordered to pay £1,000 in costs each.

The charges related to dates in December 2011 and January 2012, when RSPCA officers visited premises in Faringdon Road.  The location, known as ‘Crunchy’s’ had been set up as a boarding establishment where owners boarded their pets and other animals that had been taken on by the defendants were housed.

A male golden retriever; a male brindle mastiff; a female German shepherd; a female Staffordshire bull terrier; and a black and white female shih-tzu were all found to have been caused to suffer, along with four equines which had overgrown hooves. A duck and a turkey were also both found to be suffering from leg problems.

The golden retriever, named Winston (pictured), had not been provided with adequate nutrition or parasitic control and was lying in faeces in a filthy kennel.  His owner had paid for Winston to be kept at Crunchy’s for around six months whilst she was having medical treatment.  She was never able to see Winston and it was only when the RSPCA scanned the dog for a microchip that he was returned to her.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Kirsty Withnall investigated the case.  She said:  “What we found at Faringdon Road were filthy, disgusting conditions where animals were being kept amongst all sorts of hazardous items without food and water.  We have a duty to protect animals from this sort of neglect and we hope that the sentence will help to do this.

“We visited as soon as we received complaints about the welfare of the animals and were shocked by what we found.  Many of these animals had been entrusted to the care of the defendants by loving owners.  Instead of the care promised, the animals were left in dirty, broken down buildings without vet treatment where it was needed or access to basic care.

“Anyone who sets themselves up as an establishment to look after animals has a duty to meet their needs and this duty was woefully neglected by the defendants.

“We would like to thank Blue Cross and World Horse Welfare for their help which was instrumental in moving and caring for the horses.”

At the time of the defendants’ conviction, District Judge Pattinson commended inspector Withnall and her team on their hard work during the investigation and said:  “Crunchy’s was an animal disaster, a sea of mud and faeces containing shocking and dangerous hazards and in short a rescue centre from which animals needed to be rescued.”The defendants were also found guilty of five charges each of failing to meet the welfare needs of 39 animals including:

  • 16 dogs which were found in filthy kennels without dry lying areas, bedding or fresh water;
  • five equines kept in excessively muddy areas with inadequate dry lying areas, inadequate grazing and surrounded by hazardous items;
  • 13 rabbits kept in overcrowded hutches which were wet and dirty, with no water and accumulated urine and faeces;
  • four puppies kept in a dirty caravan, surrounded by rubbish and left without heat, bedding or water; and
  • two goats which were kept in a damaged horsebox knee deep in faeces and without food or water.

Winston is now back with his owner, along with Ned the cat, whose care was also entrusted to the defendants.

Jenna Martyn, Horse Manager at Blue Cross rehoming centre in Burford, said:  “Blue Cross horse unit in Burford took in,four horses in total, but it became apparent one was sadly too ill to survive. Our dedicated team have been caring for Dylan, Timmy and Aladdin and worked tirelessly to address all their needs, giving them the happy, healthy future they deserve. We’re thrilled to report they have now all been rehomed; Dylan as an all-round riding pony and Timmy and Aladdin as companion ponies, and are doing very well.”

World Horse Welfare took on the care of six of the horses: Frodo the skewbald Shetland, Gem the Welsh-Cross and her foal Pandora, Welsh-Cross Harmony, and stallions, Rupert and Diego.  Their rehabilitation is ongoing with a view to finding them new homes when they are ready.

To help the RSPCA carry out more rescues like this, please text HELP to 78866 now to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

*Angela and Robert Russell are both appealing their sentences but were refused bail.

ENDS

Notes to editors

For RSPCA photographs please contact the press office on 0300 123 0288/0244 or Sophie Wilkinson on 07834 677649.

Blue Cross media contact (for photographs and interviews): Jenny Keeling 0207 932 4063 jenny.keeling@bluecross.org.uk

The convictions are as below:

1. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to a male golden retriever dog by failing to provide adequate nutrition for the animal’s needs contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

2. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to the same male golden retriever dog by failing to provide adequate parasitic control contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

3. Between 17th and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to a male brindle mastiff dog by failing to provide veterinary care regarding multiple toe infections contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

4. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to the same male brindle mastiff dog by failing to provide adequate nutrition for the animal’s needs contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

5. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to a black female German Shepherd type dog by failing to provide veterinary care regarding a skin condition contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

6. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to a female Staffordshire bull terrier type dog by failing to provide veterinary care regarding a skin condition contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

7. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to the same female Staffordshire bull terrier dog by confining the animal in a small wire mesh cage open to the elements and cold with inadequate provision of food and water contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

8. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to a black and white female Shih-tzu dog by failing to provide veterinary care in respect of an eye condition contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

9. Between 20th December 2011 and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to four equines by failing to provide adequate farriery and foot care in respect of overgrown hooves contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

10. Between 13th and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to a white female duck by failing to provide veterinary care in respect of a fractured femur contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

11. Between 13th and 20th January 2012 causing unnecessary suffering to a turkey by failing to provide veterinary care in respect of lameness, pain and inflammation in the legs contrary to s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

12. Between 6th and 20th January 2012 confining 16 dogs in 11 kennels which were malodorous and filthy with faeces and urine with inadequate dry lying areas and bedding and without provision of clean fresh water and as such failing to take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of the animals were met to the extent required by good practice contrary to s.9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

13. Between 6th and 20th January 2012 accommodating five equines inadequately in areas excessively muddy, filthy with inadequate dry lying areas and bedding with access to hazardous items and inadequate access to grazing and access only to dirty water and as such failing to take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of the animals were met to the extent required by good practice contrary to s.9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

14.Between 6th and 20th January 2012 confining 13 rabbits in an overcrowded manner in ramshackle hutches which were wet and dirty with accumulated urine and faeces with inadequate food and bedding and no water and as such failing to take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of the animals were met to the extent required by good practice contrary to s.9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

15. Between 6th and 20th January 2012 confining four puppies in a caravan in which space was restricted due to accumulated rubbish and hazardous items and which was dirty with no water, bedding or heat source and as such failing to take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of the animals were met to the extent required by good practice contrary to s.9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

16. Between 6th and 20th January 2012 confining two goats in a horse box (trailer) which was knee deep in faeces and without food or water, the trailer being damaged and therefore hazardous to the animals and as such failing to take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of the animals were met to the extent required by good practice contrary to s.9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288  Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel: 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk  Website: www.rspca.org.uk

Don't treat animals like rubbish. Thousands of vulnerable animals will be abandoned this summer, many in out of the way places like bins, in skips and on wasteland simply leaving them to die. Will you help us rescue them? www.rspca.org.uk/rubbish