[Robert Wheatley | Contributing Writer]
Two Hertfordshire men were banned from keeping animals permanently, having admitted to leaving their injured dogs to suffer after an investigation by the RSPCA’s special operations unit.
Samuel Lyas and Valentine Baldock were sentenced at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on 23 November, after they admitted they had caused unnecessary suffering to terriers; some having been left with the skin ripped from their jaws.
25-year-old Lyas was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended from his employment for two years, in addition to 280 hours unpaid work and a £3,600 fine for causing an animal fight between a dog and a fox.
Baldock, 31, was ordered to complete 225 hours of unpaid work and pay £3,025 in costs after he also pleaded guilty.
The RSPCA began investigating Brent Pelham resident after they were made aware of allegations that his dogs were being used to attack wild animals. A warrant was carried out at his address in April this year by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operations Team, where RSPCA officers accompanying them found the abused animals.
Six terriers were found, including a red male, Max (pictured above), and a black longhair called Bronson. Max’s lower jaw had exposed flesh where the skin had been ripped off, left untreated.
A separate warrant on the same day took place at Baldock’s address, also within Brent Pelham, where more dogs were found. This included Gravel and Todd, who both displayed several head and jaw injuries, and like the other dogs, left untreated. Gravel was found with staples in the corner of his mouth, administered by Baldock.
RSPCA special operations unit inspector, Cliff Harrison, said that cases like this were not uncommon. He said:
“The injuries to these poor terriers were exactly those that we expect to find on dogs that are put underground to pin foxes and badgers at the back of their earth until dug down to.
“These are the result of countless encounters, and to add insult to their injuries these dogs were not treated by a vet for either pain relief or reparation, which meant that their unnecessary suffering was prolonged.”
DC Amanda Matthews said that the Rural Operational Support Team were pleased with the sentencing. She said:
“Lyas and Baldock treated these animals abhorrently and caused them considerable pain and distress. They do not deserve to be in the presence of animals and I am reassured that they will not be able to for a good few years to come.
“I hope that today’s sentencing serves as a warning to anyone who mistreats animals that this behaviour won’t be tolerated and, in partnership with the RSPCA, the police will do all they can to bring offenders to justice.”