A man from Rhondda Cynon Taff has been given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and banned from keeping dogs for ten years after leaving two Patterdale terriers with serious untreated injuries that a vet said were likely to have been caused by fighting with badgers.
Wayne Mortimer (date of birth 18/12/74) of Nant y Fedw, Abercynon, pleaded guilty to three animal welfare offences when he appeared at Merthyr Magistrates Court last Wednesday (13 April) following a prosecution by the RSPCA.
The dogs were found with multiple scarring to their heads and necks and were said by a vet to have suffered unnecessarily for at least three days because of Mortimer’s failure to seek treatment for them.
The most severely wounded terrier, Jack, was missing 75 percent of the skin and tissue from his lower jaw.
Magistrates heard that RSPCA inspector Simon Evans, accompanied by police officers, visited Mortimer’s home on 25 November last year following welfare concerns for dogs at the address.
They found five Patterdale terriers and a lurcher puppy living in purpose-built steel kennels in a shed in the garden, with one of the dogs visibly injured.
In his evidence to the court, inspector Evans said: “I saw a small, black, Patterdale type terrier with a white patch on its chest. This terrier appeared to have an injury to its lower jaw and the wound looked to be yellow with pus.
“I looked inside and examined the injured dog more closely. The wound was extensive, covering the whole area beneath the dog’s chin reaching down to the throat. It had been completely stripped of skin and hair and was red raw and covered in sawdust shavings, making it look yellow. One of the other Patterdale terriers also had an injury to its lower lip and this too looked raw.”
Both dogs were seized by police and taken immediately for veterinary treatment by the RSPCA.
In her statement, the examining vet said Jack was missing “a significant amount of skin and subcutaneous tissue from the mandible, which resulted in no normal tissue present for approximately 75 percent of the lower jaw”.
The root of the terrier’s left canine was exposed and there were also wounds to his nasal septum and multiple small lacerations to his upper lips, cranium and eyes.
The other terrier, Race, had an unhealed wound on his left ear, a laceration on his chin and bilateral conjunctivitis. Both dogs had healed scars on the head and neck in multiple areas and additional scrapes and wounds which were only a few days old.
When Mortimer was interviewed by inspector Evans on 6 December he told the officer his dogs’ injuries had been caused by them fighting. He said he’d treated the wounds himself using disinfectant and antibiotics purchased off the internet but had been too frightened to take them to a vet as he was worried he might be suspected of using them to take badgers.
He said the injury to Race had occurred about 12 months earlier following another fight with Jack, and the historic scarring to the dog’s face was as a result of bolting foxes on land controlled by a game-keeper friend.
A second independent veterinary expert who provided evidence in the case, said he believed the injuries were likely to have been caused by the powerful bite of a badger, which would have held the terriers in a “vice-like grip.”
He said: “The chin injuries sustained by the dogs are not consistent with having been caused by fighting with each other when taking into account the severity of the facial tissue damage and tissue loss. It is highly likely that these injuries were caused as a consequence of them fighting with a badger.”
Both vets said Jack and Race were suffering due to Mortimer’s failure to seek veterinary care.
Mortimer, who signed both dogs over to the RSPCA, was also ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work and pay £400 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge. He will be unable to appeal his 10-year ban on keeping dogs for the next five years.
Jack and Race are doing well in RSPCA care and the charity is looking for loving new homes for them. The other dogs seen at Mortimer’s property have since been rehomed.