Family face ban from having pets

A SOMERSHAM family could be banned from keeping pets for life after they failed to get a vet to their badly-infected, emaciated old dog. Marlene Fishpool, 65, her husband Clive, 60, and their son Craig, 30, all pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffer

A SOMERSHAM family could be banned from keeping pets for life after they failed to get a vet to their badly-infected, emaciated old dog.

Marlene Fishpool, 65, her husband Clive, 60, and their son Craig, 30, all pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the 15-year-old tan Collie-cross.

By the time the RSPCA took the dog away in March, she weighed just 8.5kg, compared with the 18-20kg that vets would have expected of an animal of that age and breed, according to Hayley Saunders, prosecuting at Huntingdon Magistrates' Court.

The offence was said to have taken place between December 29 last year and March 9. The family denied the dog veterinary treatment as infection from a tooth spread through her body.


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The animal was in such a bad way when she arrived at a veterinary surgery in St Ives that she had to be put down.

The infection, which vets believed had started as a tooth root abscess, had spread within the dog's mouth and to its face, eyes and womb.

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The family, who were told they would be facing a prison sentence, could still face bans, possibly for life, on keeping their other dogs, cat, hamster, cockatiel and other aviary birds.

When found by RSPCA inspector Kat Parfitt, the dog was in such a bad state that a thorough examination was not possible, nor could a blood sample be taken for analysis.

Miss Saunders showed the three magistrates photographs of the animal, warning them: "The pictures are quite brutal and perhaps nastier than the usual RSPCA pictures you will have seen."

The vet had given her opinion that the animal had been denied treatment for four to six months before she saw it. A second vet said it would have been suffering pain for at least two months and that its distressed condition would have been obvious to any reasonable dog owner, Miss Saunders added.

Marlene Fishpool had put in a call to the RSPCA about the dog shortly before the inspector's arrival, but it was not returned and she had not followed it up, the prosecutor told magistrates.

All three defendants acknowledged in interview with the inspector that they should have sought treatment, but said they could not afford to pay for it.

Clive Fishpool said: "We have a finance company breathing down our necks for five grand and the council breathing down our necks."

Miss Saunders asked the court to impose a ban on the three keeping any animals because of the severity of the case.

Marlene Fishpool told the court: "We are all very, very sorry for what happened. I wanted her to die at home and that's what I expected to happen. I have had dogs since 1964 and this is the first time anything has happened. If I could go through it again, I would do it differently, but unfortunately I can't.

"It would break my heart to be banned. If the magistrates agree not to ban us, I will willingly agree that the RSPCA can come any time."

The three will be sentenced on July 11 after reports have been prepared.

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