05:32PM, Wednesday 25 July 2018
A 55-year-old woman from Slough who kept dogs and cats in dirty and undersized cages has been convicted of 11 offences of failing to ensure animal welfare.
Teresa Reynolds, of Long Furlong Drive, Slough, was prosecuted after a complaint regarding the breeding and selling animals was investigated by the neighbourhood services team of Slough Borough Council (SBC) last year.
She was found guilty at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, July 19 and sentenced on Monday to a 12 month community order, 120 hours of unpaid work, a 15 day rehabilitation requirement, a seven year ban on owning any animal and ordered to pay £2,000 in legal costs.
The court heard how council and Thames Valley Police officers were overwhelmed by the smell of faeces and urine and the sheer number of animals in Reynolds two-bedroom council home, which they attended in June last year having obtained a warrant.
When Reynolds was asked how many pets there were, she did not know.
Pugs, poodles, cocker spaniels, Yorkshire terriers, shih-tzus and chihuahuas were among the animals found.
SBC Neighbourhood manager Ian Blake told the court how he found 16 dogs stacked up in dirty cages that were too small for them and had no access to water. Some of the animals were caged in pairs.
More animals were found in the garden including a large poodle, who had no access to the property due to a stairgate blocking the way. The only water present for her was in a bucket which contained other items.
Four cats were discovered in a bird aviary in the garden, whose overflowing litter trays were placed next to their water bowls.
The only clean crate found with bedding, food and water inside, contained no animal.
During the trial, it was revealed that officers found two dead puppies in a wheelie bin outside the house.
Reynolds told Mr Blake that she had been unable to feed them after their mother had died.
All 23 cats and dogs were removed from the property and transported to the Summerleaze Veterinary Hospital in Maidenhead, where it was noted that several dogs were heavily soiled, two of the female cats were pregnant.
A tom cat's fur was so heavily matted it needed to be shaved to prevent long-term suffering.
Documents seized from the home indicated that Reynolds was selling animals from her home and that more than 250 animals had been handled within the property over two years.
Receipts were found for dogs being sold for £1,200, £900 and various other amounts, as well as bank statements with transactions indicating the sale of puppies and kittens.
The council’s fraud team became involved, who discovered that Reynolds had failed to update the benefits team that she was receiving income from her trading.
As a result, she was additionally found guilty of two counts of fraud after falsely claiming benefits.
Complaints about Reynolds breeding and selling animals have dated back to 2010, but this was the first time there was evidence for a prosecution.
Having been signed over to the council, all the animals have been re-homed and are doing well.
SBC cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection Cllr Pavitar Mann (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said: “I’m delighted we have secured a conviction against this offender.
“No one should allow animals to suffer in this way and we thank the individual who reported this person to our neighbourhood services team.
“We hope this conviction acts as a deterrent to others trading animals in unsuitable conditions.”
Anyone with animal welfare concerns should contact the council's enforcement and regulatory team on 01753 475111.
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