Blyth Mother and son prosecuted for animal neglect
12 Oct 2020
A Blyth mother and son have been prosecuted for neglect of their dogs by Northumberland County Council.
On Friday (September 25) June and Robert Redford from Blyth were sentenced by South East Northumberland magistrates, who disqualified them from keeping animals for a collective 15 years and issued fines and rehabilitation activity.
Although they are mother and son, they lived in different properties and their animal neglect cases comprised two separate prosecutions.
June Redford, of no fixed address, severely neglected her three dogs, so much so that one died. She was disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years, sentenced to a 12-month Community Order with 25 days rehabilitation activity. She was also fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £90.
Robert Redford of Richard Street in Blyth who neglected his dog and failed to seek veterinary attention for its many ailments has been disqualified for keeping all animals for five years. He was sentenced with a 12-month Community Order with 20 days rehabilitation activity. He was also fined £100 and ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £90.
During June Redford’s court hearing, magistrates heard from Northumberland County Council’s solicitor, how on 11th September 2018 an Animal Welfare Officer from Northumberland County Council responded to a complaint from a veterinary nurse from St Clair Veterinary Care in Blyth. She had raised concerns about a dead male Chihuahua cross named Bambi that had been brought into the practice by June Redford who was making enquiries about the costs for a cremation of the dog.
Bambi had an emaciated body condition of 2/9, and a severe flea infestation. A post-mortem identified prolonged malnutrition, severe dehydration and severe flea infestation.
On the evening of the 11th October 2018 the Animal Welfare Officer was contacted again, this time by Alexas Animal Dog Rescue after a female Shih Tzu named Xena had been signed over to the rescue centre by the Defendant. She had advised she was being evicted and needed her dog Xena to be rehomed. Xena was in a poor condition and there was concern for other dogs still in the Defendant’s home.
The following day Xena was seen by a vet. He noted that Xena was in a poor state, her coat was heavily matted with large tats and she had a very heavy flea infestation. He believed that the flea infestation had been in place for several weeks or potentially several months.
Due to concerns for other dogs possibly at the Defendant’s home address, a warrant was obtained to enter a property in Oxford Street, Blyth. The property was in a very poor condition, waste was piled high in all rooms, the property was damp and mould could be seen growing on the walls and furniture, there was no working bathroom in the property and the smell was unbearable. A male Chihuahua named Gizmo was at the property. Gizmo had live fleas crawling all over his body, he was covered in scabs. Gizmo was taken to St Clair Veterinary Care in Blyth where he received flea treatment and a health check; he was then taken to Alexas Animal Rescue Centre.
The Defendant subsequently attended the Council’s offices in Blyth for interview where she admitted responsibility for Bambi, a dog she had owned for about 4 ½ years. She acknowledged that he had fleas but didn’t think it was excessive and even though he had stopped eating and drinking, she did not take him to the vets. Regarding Xena and Gizmo, she had noted scabs on both dogs but not fleas. Gizmo and Xena have been nursed back to health and are enjoying life with their new owners.
In a separate incident, at a different address, June’s son Robert was also brought before the courts by Northumberland County Council.
Animal Welfare Officers from Northumberland County Council visited Redford’s home in October 2018 after obtaining a warrant. On arrival they discovered Rocco, a male Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross who was stiff, lame and weak and in obvious distress and discomfort.
He was riddled with fleas, had severe hair loss, his skin was red raw, he had sores on his legs and a large lump on his hind leg. The hallway in the home was littered with dog faeces.
Rocco was taken to St Clair Veterinary Care in Blyth where he was given flea treatment, pain relief and antibiotics.
He was then taken to Alexa’s Animal Dog Rescue to start his recovery and rehabilitation.
A follow up appointment at the vets just a few weeks later showed Rocco’s condition and demeanour had improved greatly. This highlighted the suffering he was under at the initial examination due to long term neglect and how easily this could have been avoided if treatment had been sought.
Redford was interviewed under caution in December 2018 where he admitted he hadn’t taken the dog for treatment for financial reasons and that although he loved the dog he was embarrassed by his condition.
The Animal Welfare Officer contacted PDSA in Newcastle which offers free and low-cost veterinary care to sick and injured pets of people in need. Although Rocco was registered with them, he had never been in for treatment.
Northumberland County Councillor, John Riddle, cabinet member for community services said:
“We hope that these sentences serve as a warning to others. If you make a commitment to own a pet, then you must be able to care for it responsibly.
“The dogs had a series of health ailments which could have easily been avoided if the owners had sought veterinary treatment. We will not tolerate animal neglect or cruelty. If we are made aware of cases such as these, we will always pursue them and bring the offenders to justice.”
Pictured is Gizmo who is back to full health and living in a new home.