A man and woman have been sentenced after three dogs, a pony and two wild birds were found alone, and two of the dogs straying amongst traffic on a 50mph road, in the run up to Appleby Horse Fair.
Michael Price (D.O.B 07.05.91) of Lime Tree Avenue, Malton, North Yorkshire and Shannon Hanrahan (D.O.B 07.05.91) of Kidacre Street, Kidacre Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire appeared before Carlisle Magistrates’ Court last week (Tuesday 25 February) for sentencing.
At an earlier hearing Price pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act of failing to meet the needs of (1.) a pony and (2.) two dogs – a lurcher and a collie – and one offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act of (3.) having two wild goldfinches in his possession*.
Hanrahan pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act of failing to meet the needs of a Llasa Apso-type dog (pictured left)**.
RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “On Friday 31st May, whilst on duty in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, my colleague and I received a request from the police to help with some animals.
“As we arrived at the location I saw a brindle lurcher-type dog and what appeared to be a collie-type dog amongst the traffic and the police were trying to catch them.
“We pulled over and I managed to secure the dogs and get them into our van for safe keeping whilst we approached the police officers.
“It was explained to us that the owners of the dogs were believed to be the occupants of a caravan on the side of the road, and that they were in Bradford.
“The dogs were wearing collars but there was no tethering equipment of any kind and a small caged area measuring approximately 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft with no lid was the only possible living area I could see for them. There was no shelter available for the cage.
“The police were concerned regarding some birds in cages they had seen inside a van next to the caravan so my colleague went to look at those – they turned out to be wild goldfinches.
“I then saw a small cream Lhasa Apso-type dog that appeared young, inside a metal cage at the side of the road. The cage had a lid that was secured but there was no shelter and the dog was laying on wet grass with no access to water. As the weather was wet I was concerned about the dog as they appeared to be shivering.
“A grey shetland pony tethered with a length of blue nylon rope tied around their neck was nearby. The rope was so tight that I couldn’t get my finger between the rope and the neck and I was concerned that this may start to injure the pony if they remained in this situation. The rope was tied to a nearby branch of a hedge that was quite flimsy. The pony’s hooves appeared overgrown.
“The police took the three dogs and pony into possession and placed them in RSPCA care.”
In mitigation for Price, the court heard that the animals were left near other caravans and that Price had arranged for someone to look after them while he was away but that he was delayed unexpectedly. He said the pony was correctly tethered and someone must have replaced this with the nylon rope.
He was disqualified from keeping all animals for four years. He was also sentenced to a 12-month community order including 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £600 costs and a £90 victim surcharge. A deprivation order was placed on the pony and two dogs who will now pass into RSPCA care and be rehomed. The birds were released back into the wild.
In mitigation for Hanrahan, the court heard that the offence occurred when the dog was left with friends and family, she had no previous convictions and was of good character.
She was ordered to pay £160 fine, £250 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.
*The full offences Price pleaded guilty to are:
That on and before 31st May 2019 concluding in the vicinity of Kirkby Stephen you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal namely a grey (Appaloosa) shetland mare pony for which you were responsible, were met to the extent required by good practice by one or a combination of the following; (a) failing to provide the animal with a suitable environment, (b) failing to provide the animal with fresh clean drinking water, (c ) failing to ensure the animal was suitably tethered (d) failing to provide dental care (e) failing to provide farrier treatment; contrary to Section 9(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
That on and before 31st May 2019 concluding in the vicinity of Kirkby Stephen you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of animals namely a brindle Lurcher type dog and a tricolour Collie cross dog for which you were responsible, were met to the extent required by good practice by one or a combination of the following; (a) allowing the dogs to stray, (b) failing to provide the dogs with a suitable environment in which to live, (c ) failing to ensure the dogs had access to fresh clean drinking water, (d) by allowing the dogs to be unsupervised on a road, (e) by failing to suitably protect the animals from the potential of pain suffering injury or disease; contrary to Section 9(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
That on 31st May 2019 in the vicinity of Kirkby Stephen you had in your possession live wild birds, namely two goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), contrary to Section 1(2)(a) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
**The full offence Hanrahan pleaded guilty to is:
That on and before 31st May 2019 concluding in the vicinity of Kirkby Stephen you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal, namely a Lhasa Apso type dog for which you were responsible, were met to the extent required by good practice by one or a combination of (a) not providing a suitable environment, (b) not providing comfortable bedding, (c ) by leaving the animal unsupervised on a roadside, (d) by not ensuring that the animal had access to fresh clean drinking water, (e) by providing no or inadequate parasitic control in respect of ectoparasites; contrary to Section 9(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.