A magistrate and her daughter from Leigh have been disqualified from keeping dogs for five years after causing unnecessary suffering to two West Highland white terriers. One of them was wearing a child’s jumper when she was found, which had stuck to her weeping skin.


Gail Bradshaw (D.O.B 27.08.53) – a magistrate at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court for the past 30 years who has deliberated on RSPCA cases – and Nicola Bradshaw (D.O.B 07.09.88), both of Minehead Avenue, appeared before Preston Magistrates’ Court for sentencing yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 8 May).

Poppy when rescued
Poppy when rescued


After a two-day trial last month (Friday 6-Monday 9 April) the mother and daughter were convicted of (1.) on a day or dates between 1 April 2015 and 29 September 2017, causing unnecessary suffering to Poppy and (2.) on a day or dates between 29 November 2016 and 29 September 2017, causing unnecessary suffering to Holly, by failing to provide proper and necessary care and attention for their chronic and severe skin conditions.


RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald said: “Poppy (pictured right) was by far the worst. She was the one wearing the child’s jumper. It was filthy, and when we tried to remove it at the vets it had stuck to her skin around her armpits, chest and front legs, where it had been weeping.


“She had been suffering the longest, veterinary evidence of her skin condition goes all the way back to 2014.


“A new treatment plan was put in place in March 2015 and the vet advised that Poppy needed to be brought back 7-10 days later but that never happened.


“Gail Bradshaw said she didn’t think the vet treatment was working so decided to self treat the condition after seeking advice from the internet and friends instead.


Holly when rescued
Holly when rescued

“When Holly (pictured left) started to get similar symptoms in early 2017 she was never taken to the vet. This is despite both dogs having ‘ultimate’ Petplan insurance which could have covered the treatment.”


As well as the five-year disqualification, the Bradshaws were each also sentenced to a 12-month community order including 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs.


Inspector McDonald added: “I hope the message that comes from this case is that if your pet has any health problems, you must not use or rely on the internet to try and self diagnose and treat your pet but seek the professional and qualified advice and treatment of a vet. If money is an issue, there are vets out there for those on a low income.


“The severity of the skin conditions and fur loss suffered by these dogs was the worst I’ve seen in my 15-year career. They were in an absolutely shocking state.”


Poppy and Holly are in the care of the RSPCA’s Liverpool branch, where they’ve rapidly improved and special new homes are now being sought for them.


Anyone who thinks they might be interested should contact the branch on 0151 486 1706.