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Council prosecutes pair for animal cruelty

Credit: Vale of Glamorgan Council

TWO Barry residents have been prosecuted for mistreating dogs, following an investigation by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

It related to concerns that puppies and dogs were being kept in very poor conditions at a house and that this property was potentially being used for illegal dog breeding.Shared Regulatory Services (SRS), which carries out trading standards work in the Vale, Cardiff and Bridgend Local Authority areas, brought a case against Dominic Fouracre and Rachel Lewis.

They both plead guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act at Cardiff Crown Court after keeping dogs in horrendous conditions, leading to the death of five.

Fouracre was sentenced to 22 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and undergo 10 days rehabilitation.

Lewis received a 14-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, has to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and eight days of rehabilitation.

The defendants were told to pay costs of £4000 each, while Mr Fouracre was also made the subject of a Disqualification Order, banning him from keeping animals for eight years.

Cllr Ruba Sivagnanam, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Equalities and Regulatory Services, said: “This successful prosecution follows many months of careful investigative work by dedicated Animal Health and Welfare Officers and I’d like to thank those involved for their efforts.

“These dogs were kept in appalling conditions, causing them to develop serious health problems, issues that proved fatal in some cases.

“I hope this sends out a message that we simply will not tolerate animal cruelty and neglect, particularly where such issues arise from illegal dog breeding practices. It is not acceptable for the welfare of animals to be overlooked in pursuit of financial gain.

“SRS, on behalf of the Council, will investigate such cases and if appropriate prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law.

“I’d also like to express my gratitude to Hope Rescue for their assistance in bringing these offenders to justice and for the care provided to the dogs.”

In June last year, SRS received a complaint from Hope Rescue, a dog rescue and rehoming charity in South Wales, regarding a litter of puppies that were taken to an address in Clive Road, Barry.

When Animal Wardens visited the property, accompanied by South Wales Police, the smell throughout the property was pungent with dog faeces smeared over floors, walls and doors.

One room was being used to house three adult bulldogs, which were loose, and five puppies contained in a makeshift crate that was also covered in animal waste.

Three dog bowls were empty, one dog was witnessed eating dog faeces from the floor, while several had visual health issues, such as hair loss and cherry eye – a prolapse of the tear gland within the third eyelid.

A further four bulldog puppies were found in a whelping box upstairs, one had an anal prolapse approximately 20cm in size, there was visible blood in the pen, and again, no food or water was available.

The nine puppies and three adult dogs were all seized under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and taken for assessment by veterinary surgeons.

Following assessments, it was established that the dogs were suffering from a wide variety of health conditions, including:

  • Rectal prolapse.
  • Bilateral entropion – a condition that causes the eyelashes to curl inwards, rubbing the eye.
  • Moderate to severe corkscrew tail, a genetic conformational abnormality where the tail is short, twisted and curls into the body causing severe discomfort and sometimes a skin infection.
  •  Poor coat quality.
  • Bilateral cherry eye.
  • Bilateral conjunctivitis – am eye infection.
  • Epiphora – increased tear production, common when the eye is painful.
  • Umbilical hernia.
  • Moderate kyphosis – a genetic abnormality of the spine resulting in arching upwards of the back increasing the risk of spinal pain and issues.
  • Fractured teeth.
  • Hair loss.
  • Respiratory problems.

Unfortunately, five of the dogs have had to be euthanised, while Hope Rescue are caring for the others.

Hope Rescue Operations Manager, Sara Rosser, said: “It was clear from the outset that the dogs were in a dreadful state and, sadly, two had to be euthanised immediately. One dog was unable to extend her hind legs, had an eye condition, heart issues, and problems with her spine. The other had an anal prolapse that had been left for such a long time that it was necrotic.

“We are grateful to the Local Authority team who worked so hard on this case. This was a very challenging case for us, as we want to ensure that dogs have a second chance. We were devastated that, despite the best efforts of our team and the vets, a further three dogs had to be euthanised due to serious joint and spinal abnormalities. Even with medical intervention, these dogs would be unable to live pain-free which is incredibly sad.”