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Man, 79, banned from keeping animals for life - for a second time

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:48 16 March 2019

The dogs had little or no water. Photo: RSPCA

The dogs had little or no water. Photo: RSPCA

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A 79-year-old man has been banned from keeping animals for life for a second time after he admitted breaching a previous ban when he was found to be keeping a large number of animals in appalling conditions.

Dogs were found in small cages covered in mess. Photo: RSPCADogs were found in small cages covered in mess. Photo: RSPCA

Edwin Harris, of Murthering Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, appeared before Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 28 for sentencing after he previously admitted keeping 13 dogs, six pigs, six cockerels, two ducks, four cats, a pigeon, a goose and a rook while disqualified.

He was also sentenced for a further offence of failing to provide them all with a suitable environment and an offence of causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Shar Pei-type dog, by failing to adequately investigate and address the cause of her ear and skin conditions.

The court sentenced him to a lifetime ban on keeping animals. He was also given a two-year community order with the requirement to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work and 60 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and was ordered to pay costs of £1,300 and a £85 victim surcharge.

The RSPCA attended the address in May last year with the police and found a large number of animals being kept in appalling conditions.

One Jack Russell was kept in a cupboard coverted into a cage. Photo: RSPCAOne Jack Russell was kept in a cupboard coverted into a cage. Photo: RSPCA

Dogs were found in small cages covered in mess and faeces with little or no water, and one was even found locked inside a cupboard which had been turned into a makeshift cage.

The cockerels, pigeon and rook were also kept in small cages covered in faeces, and the pigs were kept in a small narrow space within an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round or exercise.

RSPCA Inspector Adam Jones said: “The conditions were appalling, most of the small animals and dogs were kept in cages and probably had not known any other life. They had obviously never been socialised and were scared.

“The cages had not been cleaned out and the animals were surrounded in their own faeces and dirt. If they did have water it was usually filthy. I was horrified to find one small Jack Russell being kept in a cupboard that the defendant had converted into some kind of makeshift cage.

Harris was sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Shar Pei-type dog, by failing to address the cause of her ear and skin conditions. Photo: RSPCAHarris was sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Shar Pei-type dog, by failing to address the cause of her ear and skin conditions. Photo: RSPCA

“By his own admission the defendant had claimed he had a compulsion to keep animals because he loved them and he couldn’t stop taking them in. Had we not removed these animals it’s likely the numbers would have only increased - one of the pigs we removed had later had a litter of piglets.

“I hope that now he has been sentenced by the court the defendant will learn his lesson and not get animals which he clearly is unable to look after properly.”

Although the matter had crossed a custody threshold the bench said they had taken into account the defendant’s age and vulnerability and the fact that he has never been to prison before, but were keen for him to have some rehabilitation

In 2014 Harris was disqualified from keeping animals for life following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

Six pigs were kept in a narrow space in an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round. Photo: RSPCASix pigs were kept in a narrow space in an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round. Photo: RSPCA

Edwin Harris said he had a compulsion to keep animals because he loved them. Photo: RSPCAEdwin Harris said he had a compulsion to keep animals because he loved them. Photo: RSPCA

Harris admitted having six pigs, six cockerels, 13 dogs, two ducks, four cats, a pigeon, a goose and a rook despite being disqualified from keeping animals. Photo: RSPCAHarris admitted having six pigs, six cockerels, 13 dogs, two ducks, four cats, a pigeon, a goose and a rook despite being disqualified from keeping animals. Photo: RSPCA

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