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Kennel owner fined for cruelty to DDA dogs


A KENNEL owner has been ordered to pay almost £10,000 for cruelty to 15 dogs held at kennels after they had been seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Stuart Millington left 14 pit bull terrier ‘type’ dogs and one crossbreed with no food or water and in bare, concrete kennels, a court heard. The animals were in his care at Hilltop Kennels, in Mossley, after being seized by Merseyside police and he was supposed to look after them while their owners were taken to court.

Merseyside Police had seized dogs they suspected of being illegal pit bulls under the Dangerous Dogs Act after five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson, of Warrington, was killed by her uncle's Pit Bull Terrier in St Helens on New Year’s Day 2007.

Tameside Magistrates' Court heard that the RSPCA investigated and prosecuted Millington, 61, after the owner of one of the dogs complained about the condition of his pet and took it to a vet. The animals seized were found to be in an ‘extremely poor bodily condition’.

An investigation showed their kennels were cold and wet with rough concrete floors, no food or water and little evidence of bedding. The animals had wounds including tail tip injuries and some had to have their tails amputated, magistrates were told.

Millington admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the 15 dogs, between March 10 and March 24 last year.

Jane Mack, defending described Millington as a ‘contentious individual’ and said Merseyside police had only contacted him 30 minutes before arriving with the dogs and that he had ‘bitten off more than he could chew'.

Merseyside police say the animals were placed with a licensed boarding kennels, paid for by them, and they ‘fully expected them to be given the same high level of care as any other animal.’
A police spokesman said: "We feel extremely let down that this did not happen." The RSPCA's Phil Wilson said: "As a responsible kennel provider Mr Millington ought to have provided these dogs with a far higher standard of care than he did."

Prosecution counsel Mark Harper said: "The facts are relatively straight forward, the dogs were taken there in good condition and they were returned not in a good condition. It’s lack of care that’s brought the case to this stage."

Magistrates ordered Millington to pay a £2,000 fine and £7,668 costs. He was not banned from owning or looking after animals. However, h e now faces the possibility of having his kennel licence revoked after Tameside council said it would review arrangements at Hilltop.

Millington’s prosecution was welcomed by anti-DDA groups Deed Not Breed and Endangered Dogs Defence and Rescue, both of whom had expressed concerns about the condition and welfare of many dogs which had been held in kennels after being seized in Merseyside over the past year.
Several dogs held at various kennels under the Merseyside DDA crackdown have suffered from
welfare-related issues. As previously reported in OUR DOGS, Merseyside dog owner Jackie Rushton’s crossbreed Lenny was seized by police as a pit bull type and placed in kennels pending investigation. He was returned to her in November last year with cuts to his face and body.