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Breeders face fines and ban

TWO TOP breeders of Cocker Spaniels admitted causing appalling suffering to their own championship-winning dogs in a court case earlier this week.

Brenda Parmenter, 66, a championship show judge, and her son Roy, 42, had established an international reputation during more than quarter of a century of breeding cocker spaniels under the Velderbee affix.

An anonymous tip-off led to an RSPCA raid on their home, where inspectors found one dog half-blind, three with open wounds and all seven of their animals being kept in "filthy" conditions in steel cages in the hallway.

On Monday of this week, the Parmenters pleaded guilty to four specimen counts of causing unnecessary suffering. They were banned from keeping dogs for two years and fined £100 each plus £50 costs.

Magistrates in Bexley, Kent, heard that RSPCA officers were ‘horrified’ at what they found when they raided the Parmenters' home in Parsonage, Manorway, Belvedere, Kent. Three dogs were so emaciated that their spines and other bones could be seen protruding from their skin.

Andrew Willes, prosecuting, said that all the dogs were suffering from "easily treatable" conditions but had not been taken to a vet.

Mr Willes said that they had all improved within seven days of being taken away and treated by an RSPCA vet. ‘They went from being muddy, smelly, scratching creatures to moderately healthy dogs,’ he said.

In mitigation, the Parmenters claimed that the dogs’ neglect was not wilful, but had come about due to difficult personal circumstances. Mrs Parmenter told an RSPCA inspector in a statement that she was going to take the dogs to a vet but had not done so because she had been unwell with ulcers on her legs and had become wheelchair-bound temporarily. Her son admitted he noticed the dogs were ‘bad’ but he said he had ‘put it down to their old age’.

John McGie, defending, said that the Parmenters kept seven dogs as pets and show dogs. ‘If they are not in pristine condition there is no point in taking them to shows so there certainly would be no point deliberately leaving them in this condition,’ he said.

Sentencing them, John Berry, chairman of the bench, took account of Mrs Parmenter's health and age and the fact that three of their dogs had not been badly treated. Otherwise, he said, he would have punished them more severely.

Beth Clements, an RSPCA inspector, said afterwards: ‘This was a lenient sentence. We're pleased there has been a ban but the magistrate had the power to impose a life ban and it is sad he has decided not to impose that.’

A spokesperson from the Kennel Club told OUR DOGS: ‘Once we receive notification from the RSPCA, who initially will liaise with the Court where the case was heard to obtain official documentation, the matter will be referred to our Disciplinary Department for investigation, and then passed to the Disciplinary Sub-Committee for their consideration.’ It will then come under the ‘catch all’ KC Rule A43.

As we went to press last Tuesday Mr and Mrs Parmenter were unavailable for comment.