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Man gets six months for cruelty

A MIDDLESBROUGH man, who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to 13 horses, 11 hens, four dogs and a rabbit, has been sentenced to six months in prison and banned from keeping animals for life.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard last week how Lee Howard, 39, of Douglas Street, Middlesbrough, turned his back on the animals, which were discovered by the RSPCA at stables in Trimdon County Durham, in May 2005. The animals had died of starvation and dehydration.

At a hearing last month he also admitted abandoning three dogs in circumstances likely to cause them unnecessary suffering. Those dogs were taken to the RSPCA's Great Ayton Animal Centre, and have since been rehomed.

After the hearing RSPCA inspector Mark Gent said: "I am absolutely delighted with this result. This offence was so serious that prison was really the only option and it sends out a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

"This was one of the most disturbing cases I've ever worked on. The scene was absolute carnage, there were dead and rotting animals everywhere it was incredibly distressing, but we just had to get on with our jobs."