A Birmingham woman was banned from keeping, owning, transporting and working with any animals for 15 years, for two offences of causing unnecessary suffering and failing in her duty of care, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, today (24 October 2014).
Claire Louise Williams, 29, of Bromford Road, Hodge Hill, received a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, and a supervision order with 200 hours’ unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay Â£250 towardsÂ court costs and an Â£80 victimâ€™s surcharge, at Birmingham Magistratesâ€™ Court.
Birmingham City Council brought the case after Williams contacted its animal welfare team on 22 January 2014 to ask them to collect a stray dog she had found â€“ a male Staffordshire bull terrier called Buster. She reported that he was bony, very poorly and passing bloody diarrhoea.
When dog wardens arrived at Williamsâ€™ home that morning, they found Buster collapsed on the kitchen floor, unable to stand or walk, and bleeding. Â A neighbour saw the dog warden carry the dog to her van and informed her that the dog belonged to Williams.
Dog wardens immediately took Buster to a vet, who found him to be in such a poor condition that he was put down on welfare grounds. After examining him, the vet concluded that Buster had been caused unnecessary suffering by reason of a lack of veterinary treatment.
Buster was suffering from acute haemorrhagic gastroenteritis, with thick red blood diarrhoea. He was also severely emaciated, dehydrated and hypothermic.
An officer later returned to the premises to challenge Williams, who initially maintained that Buster was a stray, but eventually admitted he belonged to her and that she had not taken the dog for veterinary treatment as she could not afford to do so. Williams also confirmed Buster had never been to a vet or been vaccinated.
Councillor Barbara Dring, Chair of the city councilâ€™s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: â€œThis sad case highlights how important it is for people to look after their pets and that they owe them a duty of care.
â€œI am pleased that our officers were able to prove that this woman was responsible for Buster. It is unacceptable that anyone should try to pass on the responsibility of their dog to the city council, particularly when an animal is so ill.
â€œWhile many pet-owners love their animals and take good care of them, ensuring they are well-fed and maintained, there are some who do not understand their responsibility, and unfortunately our dog wardens are seeing more of these kinds of cases.
â€œThis is why itâ€™s so important to highlight what can happen to the owner, as well as their pet, if they are neglected or disowned.â€