Banned from keeping pets after ‘appalling’ neglect

The horrendous conditions in Stuart Baker's home
The horrendous conditions in Stuart Baker's home

A WIGAN nightclub bouncer was given a three month long suspended jail sentence after admitting “appalling” animal neglect.

Stuart Baker – who was also banned for life from keeping pets of any kind and must make a £2,140 contribution towards the RSPCA’s prosecution costs – told Wigan and Leigh Magistrates: “There was no malice – it was just unfortunate.”

The bench went on to issue an arrest warrant for co-defendant, his father Norman Baker, who failed to appear for the sentencing hearing.

Although their male rottweiler/labrador cross dog had to be put down after attacking officials, the Society have now managed to successfully re-home Baker’s rottweiler bitch and her nine puppies, plus a green parrot, also found.

Baker, 28, of Stopford Street, Higher Ince, pleaded guilty jointly with his father of causing unnecessary suffering to the pets by failing to provide them with a suitable environment to live in.

He also admitted failing in a duty of personal responsibility to ensure animal welfare with the constant supply of fresh drinking water.

Tony Stock, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said that its inspectors had been called to the pair’s home in Warrington Road, Higher Ince, to assist police after reports that two dogs had been found roaming the neighbourhood.

When RSPCA inspector Louise Showering got no answer at the Bakers’ home she looked through the front window and was confronted with an appalling scene of neglect.

The entire living room floor, a dog crate and the sofa and chairs were covered in dog faeces and rubbish, and could be smelt from the outside. Insp Showering and colleagues had to wear special protective clothing and face masks to protect their own health when they later legally entered the property. In fact, the acrid smell from dog urine was so strong that they were forced to take it in turns alternately checking the rooms, to avoid being overcome by the fumes.

No food or water was available for the animals, only empty bowls.

All downstairs rooms in the house were in a similar disgraceful state, with one containing a bird cage with a dead cockatiel lying in its own faeces.

The two parent dogs were so aggressive that they had to be sedated before they could be removed by the RSPCA,

The three-months-old puppies were found to be worm-infested and were very frightened of human contact because they hadn’t been socialised.

When offered food and water they ate and drank ravenously and it was the opinion expert of Richard Weston, principal vet at Anrich’s, that they hadn’t eaten or drunk for at least 48 hours.

He also told the court that continuous breathing of the contaminated air would cause harm to the animals’ health.

Mr Weston believed that the cockatiel had died within 24 hours of being found and he believed that “sporadic nutrition” would have been a significant factor. Baker, who was unrepresented but was said to have co-operated fully with the authorities, said problems occurred because he had been forced to work away from home and leave his father to look after their pets.

He said: “The problems have come from a series of unfortunate events.

“I was in a relationship with a violent girl who left me trapped in a spiral of debt.”

The three months long prison sentence was suspended for 12 months.