All the animals had to be quarantined and tested for numerous serious diseases while others needed medical treatment for untreated conditions and problems.
The couple were each handed suspended prison sentences and banned from keeping or trading in animals for five years at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court.They were charged with a string of cruelty offences after RSPCA officers removed 160 animals from their rescue centre and veterinary clinic in Lincolnshire.
In one of the largest ever operations by the RSPCA, more than 60 staff from multiple agencies worked throughout the day to take away 144 dogs and 16 cats.
RSPCA Special Operations Unit Chief Inspector Ian Briggs said: ‘The kennel blocks were seriously overcrowded.One dead another injured after double stabbing in north London
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‘Runs which, at an RSPCA site, would be home to one dog had been split into two with two or three dogs in one half, inside, and another two or three dogs in the other half, outside.‘One dog – a large Romanian shepherd called Bear – was in such a small kennel that he could barely lie down.
‘He was extremely distressed and we had to sedate him to remove him from the site. We understand that he’d been there, in those conditions, for three years – and had only been out of his kennel three times.
Poor Eric’s claws had been left uncut for so long they started to curl over (Picture: RSPCA/SWNS) RSPCA inspector Nina Small said Eric was the thinnest dog she had ever seen alive (Picture: RSPCA/SWNS) Inspectors are hunting for Eric’s owners but he has not been microchipped (Picture: RSPCA/SWNS)Luckily Eric is being given round-the-clock care and is on the road to recovery while an investigation is carried out to trace his owners.
‘Other dogs were found living in crates which were too small, stacked on top of each other and lying in their own filth.
‘One dog, who couldn’t even stand up in his crate as it was so small, was so thirsty that when our officers gave him water he drank continuously for several minutes.’
Officers found one dog had died at the clinic after contracting lethal viral disease distemper.
The same animal could be seen trembling in its cage in one of the undercover clips after staff failed to let it out or give it any food or water for three days.
Three more had to be put down – two had Brucella canis, a serious contagious disease that can be passed onto humans, while the third also had distemper.
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In another video, a cat is seen being dropped off at the clinic by their owner with a leg wound, only to be left untreated in its carrier with no food or water for two days.Woman claims she found a moth inside an Aldi pepper
Many of the dogs had untreated health conditions – such as respiratory problems or ear infections – or untreated wounds.
All the animals had to be quarantined and tested for numerous serious diseases.
Jodie Fairbrother admitted six offences of causing unnecessary suffering and four of failing to meet the needs of animals in their care.
She was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and banned from keeping or trading in animals for five years.
Her husband admitted one cruelty offence and two of failing to meet the animals’ needs and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and similarly banned from keeping or trading in animals for five years.
Both were ordered to pay £500 costs each and a £115 surcharge.
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Grainne Casey, head of the SOU, said: ‘Importing street dogs from abroad to rehome here in the UK brings about many challenges, many of which were evident from this operation.
‘Many of these dogs had not had the necessary legal checks they needed to enter the country, meaning they had the potential to be carrying serious diseases such as rabies.
‘In fact, two of the dogs removed from the site had to be put to sleep as they tested positive for a severe, zoonotic disease called Brucella canis, which can be passed on to humans, while a third was suffering from distemper.
‘As well as the major health risks these dogs posed to the general public and wider dog population, many of the animals in 4Paws’ care were not having their basic needs met while under their care.
‘It was an extremely upsetting situation to see these dogs – who’d all already been through so much in their lives – living in such squalor.’