A PENSIONER who ran an unofficial dogs home has been banned from keeping animals for a year after his dogs were found in filthy conditions.
Peter Hudson, 77 rescued and cared for thousands of dogs over the past 40 years a court heard.
But he admitted failing to provide a suitable environment for 12 dogs and failing to protect them from pain, injury, suffering and disease.
Prosecutor Tanya Follet told how the RSPCA were alerted to the dogs’ plight at a derelict house and yard in Ferry Lane, Stanley last July.
RSPCA inspectors made numerous attempts to look at the dogs but Hudson repeatedly refused them entry.
And on January 18 they and police returned with a warrant and went in.
Miss Forret told city magistrates yesterday: “The yard was extremely difficult to move around in as it was piled high with junk and rubbish and everyone was struggling to squeeze past each other.
“On first glance it was difficult to believe that dogs were being kept in the yard because of the amount of rubbish but it was soon clear that dogs were being kept in every nook and cranny in home-made shelters.”
The court heard 12 dogs were found, including cross breeds, Staffordshire bull terriers and Rottweilers.
Conditions included frozen bowls of water, wet bedding, damaged, rotten and mouldy kennels, and dog mess.
An elderly Collie dog had likely severe osteoarthritis. His coat was extremely matted and he was struggling to walk.
Another dog had an eye condition.
Caroline Deacon, mitigating, said it was an extremely unfortunate that things had got this far. She said her client had the very best intentions at heart but had struggled to cope with the amount of dogs in his care.
She said: “He (Hudson) has been involved with looking after dogs for approximately 40 to 50 years. And it’s due to his love of dogs that has led him into this position where, in effect, he had an unofficial dogs’ home or dogs sanctuary for a number of years.
“He has been involved in the rescue and re-homing of dogs for a substantial amount of time and probably been involved in the care and re-homing of approximately 1,000 dogs.”
The solicitor said Hudson was well known locally for rescuing dogs and had even taken dogs in during the court proceedings.
As well as the animal ban magistrates issued a deprivation order for three dogs which Hudson hadn’t signed over to the RSPCA. He must also pay £250 towards costs.
But the bench suspended the banning order for a week to allow the transfer of dogs still in Hudson’s care.
The RSPCA said nearly all of the 12 dogs have been re-homed and were doing well.