Animal welfare order made against Forest of Dean couple
By Court reporter | 2nd December 2021
An order under the Animal Welfare Act has been made against a Forest of Dean couple after council inspectors found two dead puppies amongst many dogs being kept in dark, filthy, overheated and pest-infested conditions at their home.
Faeces had piled up in the pens at the alleged puppy farm run by Margaret and William Davies of Awre Road, Blakeney, and some dogs had little daylight and limited drinking water, Cheltenham Magistrates were told on Wednesday (December 1).
Barrister Greg Gordon, representing Forest of Dean District Council, said that twelve dogs and two litters of puppies had been removed by council inspectors and others had since been signed over to the council's care.
Margaret and William Davies were not present in court and were not legally represented. An interim order depriving them of the puppy farming operation was made by the magistrates pending a full hearing in the New Year.
Mr Gordon said the dogs had been seized from Hagloe House, Blakeney, because they were suffering from signs of neglect and had been certified as such by inspectors and a vet.
"On July 1 this year the Forest of Dean District Council executed a search warrant on the property and found dogs in four different locations in the grounds of the property."
"A farm shed had been converted into kennels and was home to two Corgis, three terriers and a Samoyed. There was an overpowering and acrid smell of urine and faeces, which got worse the further in the inspectors entered the building.
"The central walkway was surrounded by separate pens and was covered in used bedding which was covered in faeces. The concrete floor had a very thin layer of shredded paper. There was no clean or comfortable bedding provided and there was no access to water.
"These pens hadn't been cleaned for some time and it appeared that the dogs were rotated from one pen to another.
"In a second barn, which was much worse than the first, with poor natural light, there were 12 dogs, four French bulldogs, four Schnauzers and four terriers. The bulldogs were in enclosed pens which had even less natural lighting.
"These dogs were penned in to what would be classed as overcrowding. There was a build-up of flies due to the amount of faeces in the barn. Only one bowl of water was visible, which was also contaminated by faeces.
"The whole site raised health concerns and was suffering from a lack of pest control.
"One of the bulldogs had visible problems with its eyes. The inspectors told Margaret Davies that no dogs were to be housed in the second barn and seized the 12 dogs there, which were signed over to the district council."
Mr Gordon said the Davies' were told that criminal proceedings were likely to take place in due course.
Mr Gordon told the magistrates that despite improvement notices issued by the district council the Davies' had done little to comply.
Mr Gordon added: "The dogs should be re-homed as it is in the best interests of the animal's welfare."
"Two Scotties and two corgis were kept in metal grilled pens which offered no shelter from heat or rain and lived among a growing pile of faeces.
"In the main house there were five dogs, two of which were seized during the first visit. A Corgi was penned in with her litter of eight puppies, one of which was unresponsive and lifeless.
"One of the inspectors picked this puppy up and shows it to Margaret Davies, who appeared to be wholly uncaring over its welfare.
"The Corgi and her puppies were in front of an Aga in the month of July. It was hot.
"There was a cage in a back room, which was poorly lit and had poor ventilation. Two Schnauzers were housed inside, each with their litter of puppies. A heat lamp was resting on top of the cage making the metalwork too hot to touch.
"One of these puppies, belonging to a Schnauzer, was also lifeless."
Mr Gordon alleged that the court heard that the following day the Davies' were served with an improvement notice, but they made little effort to comply with the order. They had provided fire extinguishers and made some attempt at pest control, but little else - in fact things had got worse with even less drinking water available.
Some effort had been made to remove the faeces as this had been scooped up by a digger and left in the trough.
Mr Gordon said: "The Davies' have shown complete disregard for housing the dogs properly, as there was enough space to do so.
"The cost to the council in dealing with this has been in the region of £17,000, which is mainly made up of vets fees as the animals have been placed in foster homes until this case is resolved."
The magistrates granted the interim deprivation order, which will be formalised at a hearing on January 26, 2022.
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