A ‘DOG WHISPERER’ unjustly convicted by magistrates of practising osteopathy on a policeman’s dog and causing it injury had his conviction overturned and the evidence of the owner and an RSPCA Officer totally discredited.
Ken Woodacre from Leigh, Lancashire had been convicted in 2006 by Liverpool Magistrates of causing unnecessary suffering to a Shar Pei puppy called Alfie by inappropriately manipulating it. He had also been convicted of calling himself an osteopath without being registered.
His case was appealed to Liverpool Crown Court in March this year, represented this time by Clive Rees, an experienced Criminal Defence Advocate and himself a Bloodhound enthusiast, who had become interested in Mr Woodacre’s case through reports in OUR DOGS.
The RSPCA, who brought the case against Mr Woodacre stated that their case was that according to Alfie’s owner – a serving police constable called Nigel Fleming – Mr Woodacre had spent ten minutes manipulating Alfie in an obviously painful way that included bending Alfie over backwards, and that Alfie left the surgery completely crippled and unable to walk. Alfie was put to sleep within three days.
Ken Woodacre strenuously denied this charge was unable to help him and that veterinary intervention was the only hope. He told PC Fleming and his wife this. Fortunately for Mr Woodacre there was a third person present at the consultation – Lindsay Castille from an organisation called BarkBusters - who fully backed up Mr Woodacre’s version of the facts.
On appeal, the defence relied on the word of Ken Woodacre himself, supported by Lindsey Castille, to the effect that the ‘treatment’ evidenced by PC Fleming had never occurred, and that Mr Woodacre had done no more than ‘lay hands’ on Alfie, had palpated Alfie’s back very gently, and had told PC Fleming there was nothing he could do to help.
Mr Woodacre was awarded £10,000 towards his costs incurred in the Magistrates’ Court hearing. His fees for the Appeal were covered by Legal Aid. Ken Woodacre remains convicted, for now, of the offence of holding himself out as an osteopath, but a further appeal is planned to overturn this ruling.
Ken Woodacre told OUR DOGS: ‘Of course I am naturally delighted that my name has been cleared, and I am very grateful to Clive Rees and all my witnesses for their part in this.’