Yorkshire man banned from keeping animals for life after Collie found tethered to a pipe in a dark shed

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A man from North Yorkshire has been given a suspended prison sentence and disqualified from keeping animals for life after causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

Keith Lewis, aged 70, of York Road, Barlby admitted two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 when he appeared before Selby Magistrates’ Court on February 12.

The dog was found chained up inside a shed

The dog was found chained up inside a shed

Lewis pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a Collie called Meg by failing to explore and address a ligature wound to her neck and failing to meet her needs by failing to provide a suitable environment.

The RSPCA attended his property on 13 December last year along with police after a call from a member of the public and found Meg tethered to a pipe with a chain inside a dark and muddy shed.

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RSPCA inspector Claire Mitchell said: “The chain and tether were absolutely filthy, caked in mud and faeces.

“You could see that whatever Meg had around her neck was really tight and there was an obvious smell of infection coming from her.

The Collie was found chained up

The Collie was found chained up

“On closer inspection it became clear that it was in fact bailer twine and she needed urgent veterinary attention.”

Meg was seized by police and taken to a vets who found the area around her neck was matted with pus.

The twine - which had been wrapped around her neck multiple times - was embedded in her skin and muscle and infected, and when the vet cut it off she found a wound all the way around her neck.

Meg’s temperature was high - most likely as a result of the infection - and her lower body was matted with dirt and faeces.

She was operated on to clip and clean the wound and stitch it up and hospitalised for five days.

Veterinary evidence suggested that Meg had suffered for at least two weeks.

Lewis was given a 24-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £300 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge as well as the lifetime animal disqualification. A deprivation order was placed on any other animals in his care, including a number of dogs, cats, poultry, sheep, cows and pigs.

In mitigation the court heard that Lewis had pleaded guilty, that Meg had been moved to the shed following complaints about her continuously howling where she had been previously tethered near to a public footpath, that he had animals all his life and a disqualification would have a real impact on him. It also heard that he suffered an industrial injury which affected his health.

However, the court remarked that he had previous animal cruelty convictions which were an aggravating factor.

Inspector Mitchell said: “This is the worst tethering injury I’ve ever seen in a dog. It was absolutely terrible and she suffered a great deal.

“The RSPCA does not agree with tethering dogs for long periods as it can cause distress and restrict natural behaviours but this in itself is not illegal providing that their needs are being met.”

Meg was signed over shortly afterward coming into RSPCA care and has been rehomed.