Pair receive animal bans


A WIGAN couple who left a pair of dogs to fend for themselves for several days has been banned from owning animals for 10 years.

Shaun Spall, 45, and Claire Williams, 33, who left the pet dogs at a relative’s unoccupied house on Belmont Road, Hindley, had pleaded not guilty to three charges of animal neglect but were found guilty at a previous trial.

At a sentencing hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, a statement from an RSPCA officer said the house was strewn with faeces and the dogs had no access to clean water.

Tony Stock, prosecuting, said the officer visited the Hindley address on January 16 last year and could not gain access to the property. The officer could see the dogs through the letterbox and observed that the floor was covered in faeces.

Having left seals on the door, the officer returned two days later to find the property had not been accessed.

Once inside, after the police had opened the door, the officer said there was an “overwhelming smell”, broken glass on the floor and a dog bowl for water was “bone dry”.

Mr Stock said: “The dogs were excitable and as soon as the door was opened they ran from the property.

“Once the dogs were out of the house and in the fresh air the smell from them became more apparent.

“The animals had access to the kitchen where there was glass on the floor from a smashed appliance. There were piles of faeces and the officers’ feet stuck to the floor.”

The court was told that the couple, who now live at Byron Grove, Atherton, were in the process of moving addresses and had left the dogs at the house of Williams’ sister, who said in a police statement she thought they would be there for one night only.

They had been asked to leave their previous property after a dispute with the landlord. At the time of the offences they were staying “in a safe house out of the area”, the court was told.

Ged Fraser, defending, said that the dogs - 14-year-old female cross breed, Lulu, and seven-year-old male Staffordshire bull terrier-type, Taz, had been Spall’s pets “since they were pups”.

Mr Fraser said: “They always have been well looked after and he was devastated when he had to sign them over to the RSPCA. He feels quite aggrieved that this situation came about. His primary concern was the welfare of these dogs.

“They were not in a poor physical state, that is not the case here.

“The sister said they were not in her care in a police statement but did not come to court so that was not evidence before the court.

“What the RSPCA can provide is that the dogs were left between January 16 to 18.”

One of the dogs has now been rehoused and the other is on an RSPCA waiting list.

In addition to the disqualification, the pair received a 12-week community order with a curfew requirement from 7pm to 7am and were ordered to pay £320 costs each.

They will not be able to apply to have their disqualification to keep animals rescinded for at least five years.