Lancashire woman who allowed cats and dogs to suffer in faeces-strewn home receives suspended prison sentence

A woman who allowed cats and dogs to suffer at her faeces-strewn home in Blackpool has received a suspended prison sentence.
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Two female cats and nine adult dogs were discovered living in squalor at a property in Butler Street, Blackpool on June 30, 2022.

RSPCA inspectors said there was so much animal faeces on the floor that officers were unable to freely move around without stepping in it.

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In his witness statement, RSPCA inspector Will Lamping said: “I couldn’t see any clean place for the dogs to lie as the ground and crates were soiled with faeces, as were the sofa and chairs.

“The room was very dark as the curtains were closed and newspapers had been stuck across the window.

“The smell of ammonia inside the room was overpowering, so much so that it was difficult to breathe at times and I had to take regular breaks outside the room.”

Among the faeces were trays of dog biscuits and red plastic tubs of water.

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Inspectors said this appeared to be the only food and water source for the dogs, who were being forced to eat and drink next to their own excrement.

There were also two crates in the room, one of which contained no bedding and the other a filthy blanket, as well as a number of physical injury hazards lying around, including sharp-edged tin cans.

Screenshots from a mobile phone showed their owner, Louise Tucker, had also been selling puppies, with one chihuahua cross being advertised for £450.

All 11 animals were seized from Tucker by the police and taken into RSPCA care after the vet certified they were likely to suffer if their circumstances did not change.

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On examination, the dogs were all found to have mild conjunctivitis, likely associated with the ammonia present within the living environment.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Bentley was also suffering from a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament of the right leg and an untreated anal mass required further investigation.

The vet said it was his opinion that Tucker had failed to meet the needs of her animals by providing them with a suitable environment.

He added Bentley had suffered unnecessary pain for at least a week due to the defendant’s failure to seek appropriate veterinary advice.

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Tucker, 42, initially denied causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide the animals with a suitable environment.

She later changed her plea to guilty at a trial on July 12 and 13 this year.

Tucker was told she had come “very close to imprisonment” after appearing at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (September 6).

She was given a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and banned from keeping all animals for five years.

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Magistrates also ordered Tucker to carry out 15 RAR days (Rehabilitation Activity Requirement) and pay costs of £400.

In mitigation, the court heard how she had “taken the blame for others” and had rehomed dogs from people who were allegedly not looking after them properly.

She was described as being “kind” to animals and reportedly had a clean house prior to the offences taking place.

Speaking after the conclusion of the case, inspector Lamping said: “We’d like to thank those who reported their concerns to the RSPCA, and to the officers from Lancashire Constabulary for their assistance and support on the day of the warrant.

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“Thankfully all the animals made a full recovery and all but two of them – who are still waiting to be adopted – have already found loving new homes.”

Supt Chris Hardy, from Lancashire Police, added : “The conditions that Tucker allowed these animals to live in is completely unacceptable.

“I am glad that the support our officers provided helped to bring the offender to justice.

“I hope this sentence sends a strong message to people that do not provide the appropriate care for animals will not be tolerated, and we will take robust action against those who do.”