A woman from Morecambe, Lancashire has been given a suspended prison sentence and disqualified from keeping animals for life after admitting causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of her dogs.

 

Kilmany Jane O’Connor (D.O.B 12.04.1962) – known as Kim O’Connor – of Mardale Avenue appeared before Lancaster Magistrates’ Court on Monday 4 November.Living room

 

At an earlier hearing she pleaded guilty to five offences* under the Animal Welfare Act – four of causing unnecessary suffering to 36 of her 54 dogs, and one of failing to meet all 54 dogs’ needs.

 

The RSPCA attended her address along with a vet and officers from Lancashire Police who executed a warrant because of concerns for the dog’s welfare on 9 April.

 

RSPCA inspector Sam Morris said: “The first thing that struck me when I walked through the front door was how cluttered the hallway was, with household items everywhere. There were three cages stacked on top of another, and each had a cockerpoo or cocker spaniel-type dog inside. The cages were filthy, and the dogs’ fur was badly matted with faeces.

 

Utility room“All the cages within the property appeared to be similar in size, which measured approximately 50cm high, 44cm wide and 60cm in length – the dogs were barely able to turn around and lie down, stretch out or stand on their hind limbs and of course they couldn’t escape.

 

“The situation got worse in the living room. It was very cluttered and filthy, and the smell inside was awful. The ammonia was overpowering. The curtains were drawn and thick with cobwebs. The windows were closed and the room was quite dark. This room contained 13 dogs in cages – two of the cages had two dogs inside. One dog was tethered to a table leg and there were five loose dogs.

 

“Two more dogs were caged in the kitchen. Two dogs were caged in the utility room and 14 were loose. Another 14 dogs were caged in an upstairs bedroom, which was very humid.

 

“Some of the dogs had obvious veterinary issues. None of the dogs in the property had access to water.” Mable before

 

The dogs were all signed over at the scene and taken into RSPCA care. One of the dogs – Mindy – lost one of her front paws as a result of her neglect and another of the dogs – Fifi, who was tethered in the living room – now uses wheels to get around after having lost the use of her back legs, but all have been happily rehomed.

 

Sam fell in love with one of the dogs, now called Mable (pictured before and after left), and adopted her. “She was in one of the cages in the bedroom and was the only one who was laid down not moving when I walked through the house.

 

“I opened the cage and she immediately started wagging her tail. I got her out and she drank two bowls full of water.

“I wasn’t looking for another dog but we had a connection and I thought, she’s coming home with me.”

 

Mable recovered in new homeO’Connor was sentenced to 16 weeks custody suspended for two years, a community order including 25 rehabilitation days, ordered to pay costs of £50 and a £172 victim surcharge. In mitigation the court heard that she knew she should have done more for the dogs but had some problems with which she was struggling.

 

*The full offences are:

 

  1. “That between 15th February 2019 and 29th March 2019 at an address on Mardale Avenue, Morecambe, you did cause unnecessary suffering to a certain animal namely an apricot Cockerpoo bitch known as Mindy (exhibited as SNJ/1), by failing to provide veterinary care in respect of an infection to the animal’s feet and you knew or ought reasonably to have known that your failure to act would have that effect or be likely to do so, contrary to Section 4, Subsection 1 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006”.

 

  1. “That between 6th April 2019 and 9th April 2019 at an address on Mardale Avenue, Morecambe, you did cause unnecessary suffering to a certain animal namely a tan Cocker Spaniel bitch known as Ruby (exhibited as SNJ/5), by failing to provide veterinary care in respect of an ear condition and you knew or ought reasonably to have known that your failure to act would have that effect or be likely to do so, contrary to Section 4, Subsection 1 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006”.

 

  1. “That between 6th April 2019 and 9th April 2019 at an address on Mardale Avenue, Morecambe, you did cause unnecessary suffering to a certain animal namely a roan Cocker Spaniel dog (exhibited as SNJ/32), by failing to provide veterinary care regarding a discharging granulating and inflamed wound on the right forelimb and you knew or ought reasonably to have known that your failure to act would have that effect or be likely to do so, contrary to Section 4, Subsection 1 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006”.

 

  1. “That on and before 9th April 2019 at an address on Mardale Avenue, Morecambe, you did cause unnecessary suffering to certain animals exhibited as SNJ/2, SNJ/7-38 by confining the said animals in an environment containing a pungent atmosphere of ammonia and you knew or ought reasonably to have known that your failure to act would have that effect or be likely to do so, contrary to Section 4, Subsection 1 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006”.

 

  1. “That on and before 9th April 2019 at an address on Mardale Avenue, Morecambe, you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of animals namely 54 dogs (exhibited as SNJ/1-54) for which you were responsible were met to the extent required by good practice by one or a combination of the following:

  • Failing to provide fresh clean drinking water at all times.

  • By exposing the dogs to areas contaminated by faecal material.

  • By housing the dogs in inadequate size cages.

  • By exposing the animals to an atmosphere of pungent ammonia.

  • By failing to provide adequate nutrition for the animals needs.

  • By failing to seek veterinary attention when necessary.

  • By failing to adequately groom the dogs coats which had become matted and contaminated with faecal material, contrary to Section 9, Subsection 1 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006”.