A mother and her two children from Luton have been jailed for 14 weeks after their four pets died of suspected starvation as a result of long term neglect.
Joyce Davies, 52, Adam Davies 30, and Kyley Davies, 25, of Whitecroft Road, appeared before Magistrates’ Court on Friday, October 27, for sentencing.
They had each pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to four offences, causing unnecessary suffering to their four dogs, Snowdrop, Scooter, Prince and Lucky, by failing to adequately investigate and address the cause of their poor body condition, failing to meet the welfare needs of the four dogs by failing to provide them with a suitable environment, causing unnecessary suffering to the four dogs by failing to adequately groom them and failing to meet the welfare needs of Lucky by not adequately monitoring and representing him for veterinary attention following a decline in his condition.
The trio were sentenced to 14 weeks in prison for each offence to run concurrently, they were also given a lifetime ban on keeping all animals and ordered to pay £300 costs and a victim surcharge of £115 each.
The dogs died after they had been shut away in a room for weeks without food and water, it is thought that as they tried to scavenge and search for food they may have consumed something toxic.
Prosecutor Janita Patel told the court that a report by a vet in the case stated that toxicity is likely to have been the cause of death, but the cause was immaterial to the offences charged, as they related to a prolonged period during which the dogs lost weight and hence found the need to scavenge.
The family took the seriously ill four dogs to an out of hours vet, when they arrived Snowdrop was already dead, and Scooter had to be put to sleep on welfare grounds as he was too poorly. Prince was kept in the vets, but sadly died overnight and the family were allowed to take Lucky home as long as they returned to the vet should his condition deteriorate.
The vet contacted the RSPCA as they were concerned by the emaciated condition of all four dogs and their filthy state, and for the welfare of Lucky who had been taken back by the Davies.
RSPCA Deputy Chief Inspector Mel Fisher and the police attended the family home to check on the welfare of Lucky, but when they arrived he was collapsed, non-responsive and fitting. They took him to the veterinary practice and he too sadly had to be put to sleep because nothing further could be done to save him.
RSPCA Deputy Chief Inspector Mel Fisher said: “Over the years this family have been given advice by the RSPCA and their own vet, regarding the level of care they have been providing for their dogs and we have tried time and time again to work with them.
“But it was all in vain, as they chose to ignore this advice and ignore the welfare of their dogs. They simply just didn’t care enough and shut the poor dogs away in a room and ignored them. Even though they took the dogs for veterinary attention it was too little, too late, and also when they were allowed to take Lucky home with instructions to return if his condition worsened, they didn’t do so.
“I have known all these dogs for a number of years and I was in tears when they had to be put to sleep, yet the family seemed unmoved. I am just heart-broken that these poor dogs suffered. There was even tins of dog food in the house, but the dogs were so emaciated it was clear they had not been fed for a very long while.
“I feel the sentence clearly reflects the severity of the crime and the magistrate told the defendants that this was not a case of neglect but this was cruelty and could not be tolerated.”
The family members expressed remorse in court and said they were struggling to cope following a family bereavement.