These people have been fined and disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years after failing to meet the needs of their four dogs.
Jackie Lillian Steadman, her daughter Ann Steadman and grandson, Malang Steadman, all of Throgmorton Road, Bristol were all sentenced at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on 27 July.
The RSPCA’s involvement with the trio began in March 2020 when Inspector Kimly Walters was called to the address to see five dogs – Staffy cross Babe, Rottweiler Thunder, two German Shepherd crosses called Joey and Rosie, and Dora, a Staffy cross.
Inspector Walters issued a warning notice and advised them to tidy the house and provided a voucher for Dora to be seen by a vet within 24 hours for a skin condition. This was followed up and Inspector Walters was told that the home had been cleaned.
When she later returned to the address, Inspector Walters remained concerned about Dora’s skin and she was signed over into RSPCA care for treatment. When Inspector Walters returned again to check on the other dogs, she was refused access.
In her witness statement, Inspector Walters said: “(She) agreed to show me ‘Babe’ outside and I noted her skin had improved. I advised that there was still a strong smell of ammonia coming from inside the house and flies. I reiterated that the dogs must have a clean environment to live.”
Inspector Walters spoke to a local housing officer to raise her concerns. She returned to the address with a police officer in November 2021 following new reports about the dogs.
She said: “When I went through the front door into the hallway area there was an overpowering smell of ammonia and faeces. The ammonia smell made my eyes water, the floor was wet and sticky which appeared to be covered in a mixture of trampled urine and faeces. The hallway was cluttered, and the house was dark with very little ventilation.”
After issuing another warning notice for the dogs’ living condition, Inspector Walters returned in December, with police to follow up, but found little improvement. Police seized the dogs, and they were placed in RSPCA care and seen by a vet.
A vet who treated the dogs found Thunder to have “a large facial swelling, excessive drooling and foul breath” and administered pain relief and antibiotics. Further tests found the mass was likely to be cancerous and was impacting his eating and quality of life, so vets decided the kindest option for him was to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering.
The vet also found Joey to be suffering from a “4cm by 1.5cm soft mass” that was ulcerated and administered antibiotics and pain relief.
Ann Steadman pleaded guilty to three offences on 13 June and the three offences were all proved in absence against Jackie and Malang Steadman on 4 April. The court heard that they would have entered guilty pleas.
In mitigation, the court heard that this was not a deliberate case of cruelty. But the court was also told that the RSPCA had been involved and had concerns for a long time and that the animals were all severely neglected.
Ann Steadman was ordered to pay a £120 fine, £300 costs, and a £34 victim surcharge. Jackie and Malang were each ordered to pay a £180 fine, £300 costs, and a £34 victim surcharge. All three were also disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.