Man who locked dog in bedroom, jailed

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A 29-year-old man has been jailed after RSPCA officers had to rescue a dog from a locked flat in Sowerby Bridge.

A judge described conditions in the ground floor property at Ripon House as “deplorable” after seeing photographs of the premises last summer.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the dog named Buddy, a Cocker Spaniel and Staffordshire bull terrier cross-bred, had to be coaxed out from behind a sofa after the officers were able to gain entry to the locked flat.

Prosecutor Robin Frieze said the RSPCA were alerted about the dog’s plight and were concerned about conditions in the flat when they visited on August 11 2012.

They left a card for the owner to contact them and also put tape over the door to see if anyone return to the flat.

But Mr Frieze said further visits were made to the flat and after there was no contact with the owner officers eventually gained access to the premises.

Mr Frieze handed in photographs of the flat which showed it to be very dirty with a large quantity of dog faeces on the floor.

There was no drinking water available for the dog and only a few dog biscuits.

Although the animal was not malnourished Mr Frieze said it was dehydrated and had fleas.

“He had clearly not been looked after properly,” he added.

But after some basic treatment from the RSPCA the animal, which is still at a shelter waiting to be re-homed, made a full recovery.

Owner Mark Sutcliffe was spoken to about the dog at the end of August last year and he told officers that it was about three-and-a-half years old.

He claimed to have taken adequate care of the animal and said he had been travelling to the East Coast to visit his sick brother.

Sutcliffe admitted five charges relating to his failure to meet the needs of the dog when his case was before the Calderdale Magistrates Court, but the offences meant he was also in breach of a crown court suspended prison sentence for an affray.

The magistrates committed Sutcliffe’s case to the crown court for sentence in February this year, but he failed to turn up at court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Sutcliffe was at large on the warrant for about six months and today he also pleaded guilty to breaching his bail.

Judge John Potter sentenced Sutcliffe to two months in jail for the affray, after revoking the previous suspended sentence order, with an extra one month for the animal neglect charges and another month the bail offence.

Jailing Sutcliffe for a total of four months the judge said dogs need regular care and attention and the defendant had effectively abandoned the animal in the flat.

“They need to be exercised regularly and they need the support of their owner. What you did amounted to significantly less than that,” he told Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe has now signed over his ownership of the dog so it had be re-homed and he was also banned from keeping any animal for at least five years.

Lawyer Joanne Lata, for Sutcliffe, said he was intellectually equipped to cope with looking after his pet and he failed to turn up at court for his sentence hearing because he was simply terrified about what would happen to him.