Picture Gallery: Lowestoft men plead guilty to dog cruelty

Three Lowestoft men have been banned from keeping animals for five years after pleading guilty to a string of dog cruelty offences.

Anthony Butler, William Cooper and Andrew McInnes faced charges of causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs by keeping them in a cramped and dirty environment that was contaminated with urine and faeces and infested with fleas.

Butler (54), Cooper (57), McInnes (55), who live in the same house on Stanley Street, were charged with failing to provide veterinary care to three dogs with a skin condition and one dog with an ear condition.

Meanwhile, the three men were charged with failing to provide adequate parasite control.

All the charges relate to a period between October 3 and November 3 last year.

Kevin Batch, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: 'The dogs were infested badly with fleas and one had an eye condition. In all of these circumstances and in light of the guilty pleas I would ask you to consider a ban from keeping any animals for 10 years.'

Lowestoft Magistrates' Court heard yesterday how all three men earned little money including Cooper who is �60,000 in debt following a divorce.

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Peter Spary, defending McInnes and Butler, said: 'Given their personal circumstances it is perhaps a case of negligence on their part. It is not the worst case of animal cruelty I have come across but I don't want to undermine it.

'The house is the fundamental issue and made the animals suffer. I would work towards the line of a two or five year ban from keeping animals.

'I understand now the house is in a much better condition.

'They have a lot going on in their lives and some of it is out of their control. They are very upset and want to get their dogs back.

'It is fortunate the dogs have not come to any lasting harm.

Richard Mann, defending Cooper, said: 'Due to his lack of income he couldn't afford vet bills and tried with what money he had. He shows huge remorse for this.'

Each of the men was banned from keeping animals for five years, but could apply to have the ban removed after two years. They were each fined �200 and ordered to pay costs of �115 each.

In his summing up district judge David Cooper praised the work of the RSPCA for bringing the case to court.

He said: 'I salute the RSPCA for the work they have done and I would have pushed to order more costs but these gentleman are without means.'

Click on the link at the top right hand corner of the page to see a picture gallery of the conditions the dogs were kept in.

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