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COUPLE TO FACE BAN OVER CRUELTY TO DOGS; Couple found guilty of seven offences of serious neglect.

Byline: Cara Simpson

A MAN and a woman from Coventry face a ban on keeping animals after causing unnecessary suffering to two young dogs in their care.

Ann Marie Blower, aged 37, of Stoke, admitted seven animal welfare charges relating to two young Lhasa Apso dogs at Coventry Magistrates' Court on Thursday. In a trial held in his absence on Thursday, her partner John Walker, aged 50, was also found guilty of all seven offences which included failing to groom and prevent and treat the animals for infections, as well as keeping them in poor conditions at their home in Swan Lane.

Magistrates heard how, despite warnings, the couple failed to regularly groom a 15-month-old puppy and a three-year-old female dog, leading them to be infested with the skin disease mange which is caused by mites that strip away the fur. One dog had a painful ear infection because hair was growing in its ear and the other suffered a severe skin infection.

Another dog in their care had been confiscated by the RSPCA five months earlier, when the couple were warned of the importance of regular grooming and keeping the animals clean. Nick Sutton, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the offences came to light on February 15 last year when an RSPCA officer was returning that dog to their home.

He said: "When she went to the premises she was invited in. She was shown the rear garden and, in short, it was filthy.

"There were two dogs - a 15-month-old called Buster and a female dog aged three. They were filthy and both suffered from mange, a chronic infestation of the hair follicles."

He said the dogs were taken to a vet who concluded the dogs had not been groomed for at least two months.

Mr Sutton read the vet's statement which described how Blower and Walker had been warned the previous September and said: "It was very disappointing to see these dogs had been recovered five months later. The only attempt at care was to cut chunks of hair with scissors and the dogs suffered from cuts. It is my opinion that the owners showed nothing but neglect and indifference towards them."

Mr Sutton said the offences warranted the couple being banned from keeping animals.

Stefan Hunka, representing Walker, said he had been informed on the day that Walker was unable to attend the hearing because he had been diagnosed with a serious illness.

Blower was released on bail to reappear at Coventry Magistrates Court for sentencing on January 27. A warrant has also been issued for John Walker to appear at court.

CAPTION(S):

INFESTED: The poor state of one of the Lhasa Apso dogs involved in the case (above), evidence of the mange infestation on one of the dogs (top) and (left) a huge lump of matted hair which was cut from one of the dogs
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 9, 2012
Words:482
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