Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crufts contestant who kept dogs in 'despicable' conditions is hit with lifetime ban

By: Sue Carr

A top Crufts contender who kept more than 90 dogs and cats in ‘despicable’ conditions with no food or water has been banned for life from having anything to do with animals.

Wendy Hutcheson, who ran Audenshaw Dog and Cat Home, was runner-up in the ‘yearling bitch’ category of the competition in 2007 with her American cocker spaniel.

But when RSPCA inspectors were called to the Hanover Street sanctuary they found 92 animals, including the prize-winning breed, in ‘squalid and horrendous’ conditions described as the worst they had ever seen.

Animals were emaciated and their coats were caked with urine and faeces from being kept in cramped cages and pens which had not been cleaned for ‘weeks if not months’.

Many had breathing problems caused by the ‘overpowering’ stench. One dog’s eye was so badly infected it had to be removed – another lost 26 teeth.

Hutcheson, who now works as a carer in Scotland, failed to turn up for trial at Tameside magistrates court on Monday but was convicted in her absence of six charges of causing unnecessary suffering. The 58-year-old was later arrested and kept in custody until yesterday’s sentencing.

She was banned from keeping animals for life and ordered to pay £1,000 costs..." More & video

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