Suspended sentence and life animal ban for Morecambe woman

A woman from Morecambe has received a suspended sentence after admitting causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of her dogs.

Kilmany Jane O’Connor – of Mardale Avenue appeared before Lancaster Magistrates’ Court on Monday 4 November and was handed a suspended prison sentence and disqualified from keeping animals for life.

At an earlier hearing she pleaded guilty to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act – four of causing unnecessary suffering to 36 of her 54 dogs, and one of failing to meet all 54 dogs’ needs.

The RSPCA attended her address along with a vet and officers from Lancashire Police who executed a warrant because of concern for the dog’s welfare on 9 April.

RSPCA inspector, Sam Morris said: “The first thing that struck me when I walked through the front door was how cluttered the hallway was, with household items everywhere. There were three cages stacked on top of another, and each had a cockerpoo or cocker spaniel-type dog inside. The cages were filthy, and the dog’s fur was badly matted with faeces.

“The situation got worse in the living room. It was very cluttered and filthy, and the smell inside was awful. The ammonia was overpowering. The curtains were drawn and thick with cobwebs. The windows were closed, and the room was quite dark. This room contained 13 dogs in cages – two of the cages had two dogs inside. One dog was tethered to a table leg and there were five loose dogs.

“Two more dogs were caged in the kitchen. Two dogs were caged in the utility room 14 were loose. Another 14 dogs were caged in an upstairs bedroom, which was very humid. Some of the dog had obvious veterinary issues. None of the dogs in the property had access to water.”

All of the dogs were signed over at the scene and taken into RSPCA care. One of the dogs Mindy – lost one of her front paws as a result of her neglect and another of the dogs – Fifi, who was tethered in the living room – now uses wheels to get around after having lost the use of her back legs, but all have been happily rehomed.

RSPCA Inspector Sam Morris fell in love with one of the dogs, no called Mable, and adopted her.

Sam said: “She was in one of the cages in the bedroom and was the only one who was laid down not moving when I walked through the house. I opened the cage and she immediately started wagging her tail. I got her out and she drank two bowls full of water. I wasn’t looking for another dog, but we had a connection and I thought, she’s coming home with me.”

O’Connor was sentenced to 16 weeks custody suspended for two years, a community order including 25 rehabilitation days, ordered to pay costs of £50 and a £175 victim surcharge. In mitigation the court heard that she knew she should have done more for the dogs but had some problems with which she was struggling.