Shepherd kept dogs in ‘insanitary’ house littered with faeces

Animals were found amid rotting rubbish and faeces but owner was allowed to keep them for livelihood as a shepherd.

A SHEPHERD who kept his two elderly dogs in ‘insanitary’ conditions has been allowed to keep his animals.

John Caunter, 50, of East Cottage, Holemoor, near Holsworthy, pleaded guilty to failing to provide his two border collies, Taz and Meg, with a suitable environment between October 28 and October 30 this year.

The RSPCA received several reports concerning the welfare of the two dogs, and after becoming concerned for the animals entered the property with the help of the police.

Prosecutor John Wyatt said the inspector found the house to be ‘wholly insanitary’.

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He said: “The officer who entered the property said there was a strong smell of urine and an overpowering smell of dog faeces when he walked in the door.

“There was rubbish and rotting food on the floor, and the two dogs, who appeared to be very friendly, were both matted with faeces.”

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A vet was called to the scene and on further inspection, the dogs were found to be in reasonably good health.

Rod Ball, defending, said Caunter was ashamed at the state of the house, which he said had been left in a bad way by tenants, and had since cleaned it up.

As a shepherd he had trained the dogs to work with him, and spent much of the year travelling around the country with his work.

Mr Ball said: “He is quite ashamed of what has happened and has cleaned up.

“He is asking for another chance because his livelihood depends on it.”

Magistrates fined Caunter �200 and ordered him to make a contribution of �750 towards costs.

Chairman of the bench, Jane Kivlin, said: “While we agree the environment was not suitable for dogs, you have assured us the cottage was cleaned up.

“The dogs were friendly and of suitable weight and dehydration, and we understand they’re important to your livelihood.”

Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA inspector Suzy Hannaby who first attended the house said: “The dogs are inseparable and love each other to bits.

“But it was one of the worst living conditions I have seen in a long time.”

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