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Council operation leads to prosecution for animal neglect resulting in five year ban!

Curtis Enforcement case pic of animal pen

Curtis Enforcement case pic of animal pen

A Torridge resident, named as Diana Curtis, has been prosecuted by the RSPCA under the Animal Welfare Act following a joint operation organised by Torridge District Council officers in collaboration with the RSPCA, Devon and Cornwall Police, The Dogs Trust and Vets. The case follows several months of investigation by the council who were previously alerted to a noise nuisance situation at the property in Peters Marland, with complaints of dogs barking continuously.

The case was originally investigated under statutory nuisance legislation when neighbours complained of the almost constant disturbances emanating from the site. Noise abatement notices were issued but were subsequently breached, resulting in Curtis receiving a Criminal Behaviour Order from the court.

With no evidence that Curtis had complied with the directive the council instigated the joint operation by obtaining a court injunction to enforce the order. On arrival at the property officers noted that the number of dogs had in fact been reduced to the level required. However the teams were faced with a variety of animals, being kept in very poor conditions, and with untreated health concerns and several were removed for immediate treatment.

The RSPCA subsequently brought a prosecution for the offences and on the 20th of December at Exeter Magistrates Court, Curtis was found guilty of 8 offences and sentenced to 16 weeks custody, suspended for 12 months. Curtis was also banned from owning animals for five years and ordered to pay £10,000 towards costs and a £154 victim surcharge.

Torridge District Councillor Philip Hackett - Lead Member for Public Health and Community Safety said:

"This is an appalling case of animal neglect, which involved a number of animals that were clearly lacking in proper care and living in unsanitary conditions. It's a great example of joint working instigated by our officers and we're grateful to the other agencies and organisations involved in the animal's rescue. The subsequent prosecution brought by the RSPCA will hopefully mean that no other animals will have to suffer at this location in the future and the sizable financial penalty will be a deterrent to others. I would like to congratulate and thank everyone involved in bringing about this successful resolution."

18 January 2024 

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