Winchester Couple Fined For Animal Cruelty

16 July 2013, 09:59 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A Winchester couple have been fined and banned from keeping animals for 5 years, after two dogs and a cat were found in filthy conditions.

Winchester City Council prosecuted Eric and Karen Newton, of Winnall Manor Road, Winnall, for a range of offences including causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide veterinary care; failing to protect animals from pain, suffering, injury and disease; and failing to provide a suitable environment.

City Council Animal Welfare Officer Emily Bowen and Principal Area Housing Manager Rachel Moreau visited the property to investigate a dog-barking complaint on 8 October 2012.

They discovered a tabby and white cat, Bailey, with a large untreated abscess on the side of its face and fleas all over its body. They also discovered a Brindle cross-breed dog called Bear and a black Labrador, called Scooby, both with chronic skin conditions causing itchiness and hair-loss over the legs and body together with red, raw sores. The property was in a terrible state of cleanliness.

The animals were seized under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and taken to a veterinary surgery for assessment. Bear and Scooby’s skin conditions were treated and cleared up. However it was apparent that Bear had not been socialised well enough in the initial year of his life. He was extremely difficult to handle, unpredictable and aggressive. Vets decided that it was in his best interest to be put to sleep.

Bailey had an operation to remove the infected flesh and stitch up the skin where the abscess had been.  He recovered fully and was re-homed. Scooby was placed into foster care until the trial, when the court made a ‘Deprivation Order’ which allowed Winchester City Council to re-home him permanently. His new owners say they are delighted.

Litigation Solicitor Sharon Evans, who dealt with the case, said: “This has been a very difficult and sad case for all involved.”

The couple pleaded guilty to the offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 11 July. They were fined £670 each and disqualified from keeping cats and dogs for five years. 

The magistrate on sentencing stated that: “This was an extremely unpleasant crime, of a very serious nature.”

Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Jan Warwick, said: “Thankfully these cases are rare but this case sends an important message for all to know that we will not tolerate animal cruelty.”