News

Trio banned from owning animals for life


Condition of property before intervention

Three individuals have been banned from keeping dogs for life after a successful prosecution brought by ourselves.

Stephen Flitton, Suzi Towers and Leanne Richardson of Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to four counts of allowing an animal to suffer unnecessarily. Plus four counts of failing to meet the needs of an animal, relating to four dogs that were removed from their home in December 2020.

They appeared at Luton Magistrates' Court on Friday 17 September 2021 for sentencing, after pleading guilty at an earlier court appearance, on 23 July 2021, to the eight offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. 

Flitton was handed a 12-month community order, 100 hours of unpaid work, £300 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

Towers was given a 12-month community order, 30 RAR (rehabilitation activity requirement) days, £120 fine, £300 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

Richardson was handed a 12-month community order, 30 RAR (rehabilitation activity requirement) days, £120 fine, £300 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

All three were disqualified from keeping and owning all animals for life.

Our Animal Welfare Officers first attended the home in July 2020. The property was found to be in a filthy and hoarded condition, several of the dogs were found in small crates and were left to urinate inside the crates. During one visit, one of our officers observed two dogs urinating through the crates onto the carpet.

Despite attempts to engage with Flitton, Towers and Richardson, an Animal Welfare Act 2006 warrant was executed on 21 December 2020, and four dogs were taken into possession and removed from the property to safeguard their welfare.

Following removal from the family, the dogs were found to be in an emaciated and poor condition, unfortunately one of the dogs sadly passed away. A second dog was signed over to us, which has made a full recovery and has now been rehomed. Following the recent sentencing and disqualification order the remaining two dogs are currently under our care and will now be rehomed.

Cllr Julie Banks, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “This case sends out a clear message about how seriously we, and the courts, take the issue of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. I am proud of our Animal Welfare team for pursuing this case and achieving these convictions. We need to stamp out this illegal and unacceptable behaviour."

If you're worried about possible cruel behaviour towards any animal, you can report it to us by calling 01442 228455 or emailing dogwarden@dacorum.gov.uk.

To report a stray, lost or missing dog, please call our Dog Warden on 01442 228455 during office hours or visit our Lost and stray dogs page.

Our investigating Animal Welfare Officer, Rachel Smith, said: “This was a lengthy investigation, spanning five months, during which time we have made every effort to engage with the family. All animals deserve to be cared for appropriately and it is never acceptable to neglect an animal or allow an animal to suffer, regardless of your personal circumstances.

“I am pleased with the court's decision to disqualify all three owners from owning any animals as this reflects the suffering that was caused to these dogs, which could have easily been avoided. Hopefully now, the remaining two dogs can continue with their rehabilitation and go on to lead a full and happy life.”

  • Third dog after rescue
  • Second dog after rescue
  • First dog after rescue

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