Man banned from keeping animals for life after leaving two dogs and newborn pups

A man has been banned from keeping all animals for life and sentenced to an eighteen week suspended prison sentence following a prosecution brought by the RSPCA.

Mark Anthony Booth (DOB 11/12/1985) of Wingfield Road, Rotherham, was sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 8 June.

He pleaded guilty to three offences contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Police and the RSPCA were contacted by a concerned member of the public who had been made aware of dogs that were in distress in a property in Ochre Dike Walk, Rotherham. RSPCA Inspector Leanne Booth, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “The property was in darkness but I could see through the windows using a torch – there were faeces all over the property. I could hear the sound of young puppies crying, one of which sounded distressed.”

They entered the cold, dark property and found Bella, a young white Staffordshire bull terrier who had a severe flea infestation. Hundreds of fleas were seen running across her coat. She had fur loss and was showing signs of skin irritation and self-trauma from licking and chewing around her back end due to the high flea burden.

Gypsey, a young black lurcher was found nestled into a corner of a bedroom having pulled the stuffing out of some cushions to nest, surrounded by her newborn puppies and their placentas. She was severely underweight with prominent ribs and pelvis and very little body fat.  She too had a severe flea infestation.

All of her puppies were very cold and wet having been born just a few hours earlier.

Inspector Booth rushed all of the animals to a vet. One puppy with wounds, believed to have been caused by another dog, was put to sleep on veterinary advice due to the severity of his injury. The remaining puppies were dried and warmed using heat pads. Gypsey settled and allowed her puppies to start suckling. The smallest puppy was quite weak and not suckling and despite Inspector Booth hand feeding him overnight, sadly he did not make it.

Bella and Gypsey were treated with rapid acting flea treatment and provided with food and water.  Within 24 hours Bella’s skin was looking less inflamed and she was no longer itching or scratching. The four surviving puppies all gained weight over the following days and showed signs of normal development. Had they been left in the environment they were born in, they would have been at high risk of anemia and death due to fleas.

Mitigation was put forward that Booth had been suffering from depression.

In addition to the lifetime disqualification which he cannot contest for five years, Booth was sentenced to 18-week’s imprisonment suspended for 12 months, an eight week curfew order and ordered to pay £150 costs.