Businesswoman and husband sentenced after animals kept in filthy conditions at kennels

News: Businesswoman and husband sentenced after animals kept in filthy conditions at kennels

Another Lincolnshire Highlights news story…

A couple behind kennels where dogs and cats were kept in filthy and “grossly overcrowded” conditions have been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Jodie and Paul Fairbrother were taken to court following an RSPCA raid at 4Paws vets and rescue centre in South Killingholme,

They admitted charges – but said there had been a social media campaign against them, despite the awful conditions found by inspectors, Grimsby Live reported.

RSPCA Inspectors, with help from the Dogs Trust charity, removed 160 dogs, cats and other animals from 4Paws in March last year and it closed soon afterwards.

Jodie and Paul Fairbrother
(Image: Jon Corken/GrimsbyLive)

In some cases it took months for the pets to be returned to their owners or rehomed.

A large number of the dogs had been brought in as strays from eastern Europe, including Romania, before being sold on to new owners in the UK, many local to Lincolnshire.

 

Rachel Taylor, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told Grimsby Magistrates’ Court that a warrant was executed after complaints from ex-employees and owners.

The court heard animals were kept in filthy and overcrowded conditions and dogs were suffering from problems including malnutrition.

The RSPCA led the raid at 4Paws
The RSPCA led the raid at 4Paws
(Image: Rick Byrne)

More than 150 dogs, including puppies, were removed, cared for and re-homed because of the conditions, the environment, lack of water, lack of disease control and the likelihood of disease.

The court heard one cat with a leg wound had spent 66 hours in an unsuitable environment with no litter tray and was dehydrated.

Another dog had an infection to a wound and was dehydrated and lame.

A further dog had an ear infection and a dog owned by Paul Fairbrother had a skin infection.

A dog pressed up against the bars of a small cage at the 4Paws animal centre
(Image: GrimsbyLive)

There were filthy, soaking blankets, with an overpowering smell of ammonia and dead animals and no exercise area.

Pens included a cat in a pitiful state and a dog that constantly barked.

There were also concerns about likely diseases, including some that could be transferred to humans.

Pictures of the conditions animals were living in emerged after the raids
Pictures of the conditions animals were living in emerged after the raids

Jodie Fairbrother, 40, admitted 10 offences of animal cruelty at 4Paws – six of which related to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, including an apricot terrier bitch, a grey and white cat, a fawn and black pug, a Romanian Shepherd dog called Bear and a tan and white terrier dog.

Paul Fairbrother
(Image: Jon Corken/GrimsbyLive)

Paul Fairbrother, 50, admitted offences of animal cruelty, including one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a British bulldog and two charges relating to being responsible for the welfare of an animal.

 

David Staniforth, mitigating, said Jodie Fairbrother had been around animals all of her life and had worked with them for about 25 years.

Jodie Fairbrother
(Image: Jon Corken/GrimsbyLive)

She was well regarded and the offences were not typical of the way she ran her business and her attitude to animals, especially dogs, the court heard.

”When they took these premises, Paul Fairbrother gave up his job in construction,” said Mr Staniforth.

“Paul Fairbrother developed and maintained the premises and they spent £90,000 in ‘kitting out’ the buildings.

 “They committed quite a lot to this. Dogs were brought in from abroad, including Romania.

“Jodie Fairbrother had decided she had had enough of being in this business when the RSPCA descended.

”A bit of a campaign started against 4Paws and her family. The campaign continued apace.”

160 animals were taken during the raids
160 animals were taken during the raids
(Image: Grimsby Telegraph)

Mr Staniforth said the raid took place with TV cameras present and there was a social media campaign against the family.

”They all left the country,” he added. “The three children had been home-schooled for over a year.

“They just dare not let the children go to school until this is concluded.

”They have lost their home. They have lost their business. She is going through bankruptcy proceedings.

“She did not deliberately cause any suffering but was responsible for the animals.”

Paul Metcalfe, representing Paul Fairbrother, said the father-of-four supported the wife he loved in the animal care business that she had devoted her life to running.

He said: “He did not have anything to do with looking after the animals, was not a vet or a carer and was the ‘maintenance man’ who occasionally helped out with transport in an emergency.

“There were shortcomings in the biosecurity measures and they were not up to the appropriate standards.

”These kennels were grossly overcrowded and it was overcrowding that left the animals in the difficulties.”

(Image: Jon Corken/Grimsby Live)

Mr Metcalfe said Paul Fairbrother was unemployed and also in bankruptcy.

He said: ”His support for his wife has been such that he himself is receiving counselling for depression. His key worry is for the health of his wife and he is taking counselling.

“This family and the children have suffered severely.

”They got themselves into a mess by trying to save too many animals without the facilities to do it well.

“Jodie Fairbrother had given her life to the love of animals and in her ambition to do that had got into an awful mess. They had been left with nothing.”

Jodie Fairbrother
(Image: Jon Corken/Grimsby Live)

District Judge Daniel Curtis sentenced Jodie Fairbrother to an 18-week suspended prison sentence and gave Paul Fairbrother 12 weeks suspended.

They were also banned from owning, keeping or transporting animals for five years, with a minimum of three years before they can apply for it to be lifted.

They will be deprived of owning any animals they have and were ordered to pay £500 costs each and a £115 victims’ surcharge each.

Other charges against the couple were dropped at an earlier hearing and all charges were dropped against a teenager.



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