Couple’s new life ban after keeping animals in squalid conditions

NEW LIFE BAN ... Claire and Michael Simpson.
NEW LIFE BAN ... Claire and Michael Simpson.

A SOUTH Tyneside couple kept three dogs in squalid conditions and had a host of pets at their home – despite being banned from owning animals for life.

Michael Simpson, 48, and wife Claire, 38, also owned a cat, eight goldfish, two terrapins and a school of tropical fish.

They had been given a lifetime animal disqualification at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court in 2001, for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.

However, the pair were caught out when police visited their home and spotted three King Charles Cavalier spaniels being kept in a dog run at the rear of the property.

An RSPCA inspector was called to their home, in Reay Crescent, Boldon Colliery, where they found the dogs being kept in an area full of faeces and with no access to water.

The couple admitted keeping the cat, terrapins, goldfish and tropical fish, but said they had been looking after the three dogs for Mrs Simpson’s mother, who was ill in hospital, for just four days.

Both pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching a lifetime ban from owning animals and two animal welfare charges, in relation to not providing a suitable environment or a constant supply of fresh drinking water for the three dogs, at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Chairwoman of the magistrates, Dorothy Gibson, disqualified both from owning animals or being party to the arrangements for the keeping of animals for life. Neither can come back to court to attempt to amend the decision for a period of 10 years.

Both were also given a community order with supervision for 12 months, 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £75 vet costs, as well as £200 each for court costs.

Judith Curry, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “The three dogs were taken to a vet and were found to have coats with a pungent smell, smelt of urine and had urine staining on their legs and faeces staining on their hind legs. There were ear mites on all animals.

“The cat had a mild allergic reaction to fleas and had ventral alopecia. All were treated for fleas.

“The vet found living conditions were not suitable for the animals – there needs were not being met. There was lack of drinking water and unsanitary conditions.”

Defending, Chris Wilson said: “It is in excess of 10 years ago they were before Sunderland Magistrates to be given an order of a life ban. Both have adhered to that for over 10 years.

“Mrs Simpson’s mother was admitted to hospital and couldn’t pay for the dogs to be put in kennels. Mr and Mrs Simpson took the spur of the moment decision to look after the dogs.

“Both have been genuinely remorseful. They understand they will be prohibited from owning animals again.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris