A MAN and woman who kept an indoor feral pack of 15 dogs were given a lifetime ban from keeping animals after admitting cruelty charges.
Ann Warren and Peter Rushworth Higgins, from Tyldesley, pleaded guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court to causing unnecessary
suffering to the animals after one female dog died of injuries sustained in a fight.
The court heard Warren and Rushworth Higgins’s treatment of the animals at the property on Chester Road had left some of the dogs with severe behavioural issues.
However, Warren, 37, and Rushworth Higgins, 53, avoided being put behind bars after being given sentences of 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months.
Rushworth Higgins and Warren admitted the crowded and squalid conditions at their home had severely affected the dogs’ wellbeing and the animals had suffered a deprived upbringing which left them unable to express their normal behaviour. The dogs had no collars or leads and were not walked or socialised.
The defendants also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two female tan cross-breed terriers by failing to protect them from the threat of fighting and prevent them sustaining injuries.
The court heard an RSPCA officer called at the house on June 26 2013 after a call from a concerned resident and saw some of the dogs
before waiting outside for the police. Rushworth Higgins and Warren then came out of the house with two dogs, got into their car and drove away.
While still stood outside the officer heard a dog being attacked by other animals, and found it had been fatally injured when the property was opened by the police.
RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald said: “It was extremely distressing, standing outside hearing the attack that was clearly going on and being powerless to help. A window was open so I was shouting at them to stop, but there was nothing I could do.
“The dog that was attacked was a bitch in season and should never have been in the vicinity of all of those unneutered males.
“Four dogs in total were injured during fights, all of them in-season bitches. It just goes to show what can happen when people keep dogs in this completely irresponsible way.”
The other animals in the care of the two defendants have now been taken away by the RSPCA.
Magistrates banned them from keeping any animals for life, with at least 15 years having to elapse before they can apply to have the order lifted, gave them a 12-week curfew and ordered both to pay £500 in costs and an £80 victims’ surcharge.