Three members of an Oldham family have been convicted after they confined their pet German Shepherd to a room ‘like a cell’, the RSPCA said. The pup, which spent almost all day alone in the tiny room apart from being allowed out to eat and drink, also developed an ear infection, the charity said in a statement.
Leo was found smelling of urine with matted hair after being left in a bare 5ft by 6ft room at a flat on Covert Road. Last month, three members of the same family were hauled before a court after pleading guilty to offenses under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
A vet’s report said the dog was only let out into the kitchen for food and water, but spent most of the day inside the room and if the door was opened a baby gate was placed across it to prevent it from leaving. After the dog was saved, it was left needing veterinary treatment.
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Michael Newell, 31, of Shaw Road, Oldham, pleaded guilty to two offenses under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and was disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years when he appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on April 22. Susan Stewart, 51, of Covert Road, Oldham, who pleaded guilty to two offenses under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. She was also banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.
Her partner, Lee Stewart, 50, also of Covert Road, Oldham, admitted the same two offenses under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. He was banned from keeping animals for life. The RSPCA was alerted after a caller advised ‘a dog was being kept in a small room and never let out’.
When RSPCA inspectors visited the flat on November 9, 2019, Susan Stewart told inspectors that Leo belonged to her son Michael, who had left him in her care after he moved in with his girlfriend. The inspectors returned to see Newell at the flat the next day when they discovered Leo’s confined living conditions.
Inspector Daniel Tomlinson said in his witness statement: “The room had no natural light, the walls were covered in black dirt. I can only describe this room as a cell”. Inspector Danielle Jennings added: “Although Leo appeared to be in a normal body condition, his coat was very dense and matted and I could smell a mixture of urine and faeces. Leo’s eyes also appeared bright red and inflamed.
“No bedding was available, just a concrete floor. I closed the door leading out and was saddened to see the back of the door. Clearly Leo had been trying to scratch and bite his way out.”
Newell agreed to have Leo signed over into the care of the RSPCA and he was taken to the Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for treatment. A vet found Leo was suffering from conjunctivitis and severe ulcerated inflammation of his ears.
Vet Dr Sean Taylor stated: “The room was required to be cleaned out each morning suggesting Leo did not have opportunities to soil away from the area he had to rest, although a specific comfortable resting area appears not to have been provided.” He concluded that Leo had suffered as a result of a failure to provide veterinary care for his ear infections and by being housed in a “barren environment for prolonged periods”.
Newell was ordered to abide by a six-week curfew as part of his 12-month community sentence and told to pay £522 court costs and a victim surcharge of £90.
In mitigation, the court was told Susan Stewart was a carer for her husband and aunt. She was ordered to complete 25 days as part of her 12-month community sentence and she was also fined £20. The magistrates ordered £512 costs against her de ella and a victim surcharge of £90.
In mitigation, the court heard Lee Stewart was on medication and slept during the day, which made it difficult for him to help the dog. He was fined £120 and told to pay costs of £385 and a victim surcharge of £32.