Dog breeders guilty of animal cruelty

1:00pm Tuesday 21st February 2012

Two dog breeders have been found guilty of animal cruelty after putting 13 pedigree dogs in the back of a removal lorry in sweltering temperatures.

Croydon Magistrates Court heard yesterday Airedale terrier breeders Alan and Julie Weatherley had placed the dogs in cages in a removal van outside their home in Avenue Road, Belmont on August 2 last year.

They were moving house from Belmont to Doncaster that day in temperatures approaching 30 degrees centigrade, the court heard.

Police were called to the scene at about 3pm after a member of the public was concerned over the welfare of the animals, the court was told.

The court was told the dogs were barking, piled up in metal cages "three rows deep" without water in a removal lorry with an opaque perspex roof in direct sunlight.

Police sergeant Tracy Costello described how she arrived on scene and was "gobsmacked" by what she saw.

She said: "They (the dogs) "were panting, they looked distressed...I was very, very upset by it I must say."

"I believe the dogs were suffering... it was very, very warm in the van."

She told magistrates: "We could not believe people who bred pedigree dogs would store them that way."

The court heard the dogs "lapped up water veraciously" when they were removed from the van and placed in a driveway by the concerned officers.

Mr Weatherley told the court in his defence he had put the dogs in the van as "a temporary measure", and had no intention of transporting the dogs in the cages as they had been stacked in the van.

He said: "We were then going to walk them, feed them and then let them into the van when it was much cooler."

He said it would have been "impossible" to get an air conditioned van to take the dogs.

He said he was concerned giving the dogs too much water in the van could have caused them "to bloat", which could have killed them.

Mr and Mrs Weatherley, of Mission Springs, Doncaster, both denied a charge of failing to ensure the needs of animals for which they were responsible.

They were found guilty by magistrates after a trial yesterday.

They were both given fines.

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