Starving, beaten, abandoned: The shocking cases of animal cruelty in the North East

Starving, beaten, abandoned: The shocking cases of animal cruelty in the North East

Abandoned in the woodland, beat with a metal chain, rescued moments from death, these are just some of the heartbreaking cases of animal cruelty in the North East this year.

Other cases involved animals starving and another needing an amputation after the jaws of a gin trap snapped down onto his feet.

The RSPCA have prosecuted for a variety of offences, while many owners were banned for keeping dogs.

Here we look at some of the cases this year:

Bull terrier put down

Bull terrier Oscar was suffering from a number of tumours including one on his stifle and a severe flea infestation that caused significant hair loss and left him with skin that was sore. (Image: RSPCA)

A Newcastle man has been banned from keeping animals for five years after leaving an elderly dog riddled with large tumours and crawling with fleas.

Bull terrier Oscar and cat Major had both been left with no food or water at a flat in Tumulus Avenue which had not been accessed by their owner Lee Jackson for a minimum of seven days.

The dog, who had been suffering for many weeks, had paws that were soiled with urine and faeces and multiple untreated tumours – including one mass on his stifle that measured 3.5 inches. A severe flea infestation had also caused significant hair loss and left him with skin that was sore and seeping fluid.

Owner Lee Jackson, 37, who pleaded guilty to four animal welfare offences including causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, was given the 12-week prison sentence – suspended for 12 months – at Newcastle Magistrates Court on Wednesday, March 8 following a prosecution by the RSPCA. Jackson, who is currently in prison on unrelated charges, was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £128.

Puppies rescued moments from death

(Image: PA)

Six Cocker Spaniel puppies who were just moments from death have been rescued after police spotted the pups tied up in a bag.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Durham Constabulary officers, Liam Vernon and Luke Howie, were travelling along the A689, leaving Bishop Auckland, when they spotted a vehicle parked up and the driver stood beside on the grass verge.

As they spun around to check everything was in order, they noticed the driver swinging a sealed carrier bag on the edge of the bank.

They put their blues on and parked up behind the vehicle. They then saw the man fling the carrier bag onto the front seat before starting to ‘inspect’ his tyre as the pair got out of the police car.

As the officers approached the vehicle, they could hear squealing coming from the passenger’s side and, as they got closer, they realised it was the same bag the man had been swinging just moments before.

The officers untied the bag which was sealed tight and found the five-day-old Cocker Spaniel puppies inside, which were so young their eyes hadn’t opened yet.

The driver was questioned at the roadside whilst officers monitored the puppies and arranged for the litter to be transported to a local vet for treatment.

The man, in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, money laundering and trafficking in a controlled drug and taken into custody. He has since been released on bail whilst enquiries continue.

All six puppies are now making a full recovery at the vets and will soon be fostered.

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Staffie with infected eyes

(Image: RSPCA)

The owner of a white dog found living with “crusty” infected eyes and fur soiled with faeces has been given a life ban from keeping animals.

‘Rebel’ the Staffordshire bull terrier was found by the RSPCA with eyes that were “crusted closed” and legs covered “what looked like faeces”. Further examinations by a vet found that Rebel was in a very anxious and agitated state; was underweight, had eye and ear infections as well as itchy, inflamed skin and a sore on his ribcage.

Examinations also confirmed that his skin and coat were soiled with faeces, he had overgrown nails and he was lame from a previous injury to his left forelimb. The vet immediately started treatment to relieve his suffering, including pain relief and antibiotics.

And now owner Stuart Eunson has received a life ban from keeping animals after pleading guilty to breaching a previous 10-year disqualification and neglecting a Staffie, which he was handed in 2020 after he breached a three year ban from 2018.

The 41-year-old, of Lucock Street, South Shields was also sentenced to an 18 month Community Order, 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 19 ‘Thinking Skills’ sessions at South Tyneside Magistrates Court on 1 March.

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Rats abandoned in cage

(Image: handout)

Four pet rats were left abandoned in a sodden cage during plummeting temperatures in North Tyneside.

The rodents’ enclosure was spotted in undergrowth off a footpath at the back of houses near Telford Court, in Wallsend.

The group of female rats had been left with a water bottle and a food cake to eat, although their cage was dirty and wet and it had been snowing and raining at the time.

Discovered at about 7pm on March 12, the person who found the rats covered the cage with tarpaulin to keep the animals dry until the were collected by the RSPCA and taken to a vets near Chester-le-Street for treatment.

Sadly two of them had large masses which were open and bleeding and they were put to sleep on veterinary advice to prevent further suffering. The remaining pair are now in RSPCA care. They are expected to make a full recovery and will be rehomed by the charity in due course.

Dog beaten with metal lead

Rocco was beaten with a metal lead(Image: RSPCA)

A Gateshead man who beat a Staffordshire bull terrier with a metal lead has been banned from keeping dogs for a decade.

Mark Brown, 24, of no fixed abode, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the brindle and white dog called Rocco after being arrested by police.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how the RSPCA received a 37 second long clip in November last year. It showed Rocco cowering with his head lowered and looking up to Brown, who took the end of a metal lead and hit him repeatedly on his back and head.

Brown, who called himself Defty in court, did this eight times over a period of around ten seconds. Rocco was cowering the whole time and flinched every time he was hit.

The offence took place in the vicinity of Marion Court in Gateshead, on November 3 last year.

The court in South Shields heard how a vet examined Rocco and fortunately didn’t find signs of recent injury – but confirmed the dog had been caused to suffer fear and pain.

Brown was sentenced to an 18 month community order with 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He was disqualified from keeping dogs for 10 years and will not be able to contest the ban for five years.

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Lurcher underweight and left too long

Zeus was found to be underweight, with his bones seen protruding from his body, and had been left unattended for long periods of time(Image: RSPCA)

A North Shields man has been disqualified from keeping dogs for two years after he left his dog unattended in an unsuitable environment for long periods of time and he became underweight.

Callum Paramos, 21, of Seymour Street, North Shields, appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Thursday March 2. He pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act in that he did not take steps to ensure that the needs of lurcher dog Zeus were met.

Zeus, a black-brindle short haired lurcher, was found in the Seymour Street property in August 2022. He was found to be underweight, with his bones seen protruding from his body, and had been left unattended for long periods of time.

When attending with police, RSPCA inspector Helen Bestwick described the smell of the urine in the living room as “overpowering”. In mitigation the defendant claimed to have taken the dog on after a previous owner couldn’t look after it and accepted he hadn’t done a very good job.

Paramos was sentenced to a 20 month community order with 40 hours unpaid work and was disqualified from keeping dogs for two years. He was ordered to pay £100 costs and a victim surcharge of £114.

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Starving cat found eating dried pasta

Five-year-old Lola was found in a house in Durham along with two other cats and an elderly blind dog after being repeatedly left to fend for themselves(Image: RSPCA)

Little Lola was so hungry when she was found in a house in Durham she had resorted to eating dried pasta.

The five-year-old cat was living with two other cats and an elderly blind dog and had been repeatedly left to fend for themselves with no food or water. A vet who examined them after they were rescued by the RSPCA in January 2022 said she had never seen animals so ‘ravenously hungry’ before.

Thankfully Lola has made a great recovery and has been residing at an RSPCA centre near Middlesbrough. But this little beauty is still looking for her forever home a year after being rescued and staff at the centre say that “after her traumatic past she really deserves to be happy.” Could you provide a loving home for Lola?

Living among rubbish and several weeks’ worth of piled-up faeces, Lola and the two other cats in the home were underweight and anaemic because of severe flea infestations. Lola was given a body score condition of only two out of nine and had to be put on a drip.

Forced to drink water from the kitchen sink, the cats had torn open packets of pasta and couscous to try and stay alive. They were also severely dehydrated – in part because of the overpowering heat in the property caused by an electric fire which had been left on in the lounge.

The vet said they’d been suffering because of inadequate nutrition for at least six weeks and had they been left for another couple of days they would most likely not have survived.

Read full story here

Cat trapped in gin trap

(Image: RSPCA)

A cat from Northumberland needed an amputation after the jaws of a gin trap snapped down onto his feet.

Poor cat Simba was found limping by a member of the public in Lindisfarne Close, close to his home near Morpeth in Northumberland. on Thursday, January 5. He had suffered two broken toes in the shocking incident.

It is not known where the trap was laid and for what purpose. He was taken to a local vets, where he was freed from the trap and treated for his injuries.

Fortunately, the feline’s pace meant he avoided more serious injuries to his legs and after undergoing surgery to amputate one of the toes he is now back home with his family in Pegswood.

The RSCPA says people still using gin traps as a method of rodent control need to be aware they could face prosecution after a cat was caught in one of the deadly, and illegal, devices.

Read full story here

Starving, beaten, abandoned: The shocking cases of animal cruelty in the North East

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