Two Leeds men have been found guilty of neglecting three dogs used to guard a building site.
Adrian Appleyard, 41, and Karl Harwood, 39, were found guilty in their absence at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court of mistreating and failing to ensure the welfare of an Anatolian shepherd dog called Athena and two Caucasian shepherd dogs called Koda and Sasha.
Andrew Davison, prosecuting, said the dogs were kept as guard dogs on a building site on Hollin Busk Lane, Deepcar, Sheffield and were left unattended between January 20 and January 23, prompting RSPCA inspectors to visit the site.
Insp Kim Greaves, one of those who attended, told the court the dogs had been left in three shelters but the roof of one covering two of the dogs – Koda and Sasha – had blown off, leaving them exposed to ‘bitterly’ cold conditions and snow.
She said she first visited the site on Friday, January 19, following a call from a member of the public and when she returned on Monday, January 22, the set-up was exactly the same, with tape seals placed on the gates of the compounds by inspectors still in place.
Ms Greaves said: “The dog at the front (Athena) was brighter in herself but that’s probably because we had been able to get food and water to her but the other two dogs, because I know the breed, we would expect them to be alert and guarding the site but they weren’t.”
Insp Greaves said she could see Athena’s ribs quite clearly, indicating she was malnourished, and added that she thought the dogs had suffered a ‘prolonged period of neglect’.
Fellow RSCPA inspector Jenny Ronksley said she visited the site on Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, January 21 and left business cards at the site requesting the owners contact her, which they didn’t.
Appleyard, of Springhead Road, Rothwell, and Harwood, of Ivy Gardens, Bramley, who both failed to attend court, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to take steps to ensure the dogs’ need for a suitable environment, a suitable diet and failing to protect them from pain, injury, suffering and disease.
District Judge Paul Healey said at the hearing on Wednesday: “In my view there is overwhelming evidence that the environment was not suitable for the keeping of animals.”
The judge also issued a warrant for Appleyard’s and Harwood’s arrest after they failed to attend court.