East Lancs man who performed painful surgery on pet without anaesthetic banned from keeping dogs

East Lancs man who performed painful surgery on pet without anaesthetic banned from keeping dogs

Tess

David Duckworth

First published in News by , Court reporter

A MAN who performed painful surgery without anaesthetic on his lurcher after it ripped open its chest on a barbed wire has been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.

David Duckworth, 23, boasted on Facebook that Tess had not moved while he ‘stitched her up’ with 15 stitches and had been ‘good as gold’.

But people who saw the postings were appalled and reported him to the RSPCA.

Duckworth told inspectors the dog had been given penicillin When it was pointed out to him that was an antibiotic and not a painkiller, he had responded it was the same thing and said: “You take them for headaches.”

Burnley Crown Court was also told jobless Duckworth didn't take his other dog, a tan lurcher bitch called Cleo, to the vet when it had an open wound on its right hind leg. She was found at a house in Blackburn.

He had treated her himself instead of obtaining veterinary care and pain relief.

Duckworth, who claimed Cleo and Honey, another dog which was his, were used for catching rabbits and rats and had posted pictures of dogs with dead deer and a dead fox on Facebook, suggesting he was involved in illegal hunting.

He insisted Tess, which has never been seen by the RSPCA, had not been his and had belonged to a friend who he refused to name despite the fact he had referred to her on the website as ‘my lass’.

He claimed the penicillin wasn’t his either, he didn’t inject it, the pictures had been ‘just bragging’ and the dead animals were roadkill and not killed by his dogs. Duckworth claimed: “I was just being stupid. People on Facebook were telling me it was mental.”

Judge Beverley Lunt, sitting with two magistrates, said the bench was satisfied Tess belonged to Duckworth and he had not wanted the animal to be found.

She said: “Plainly, the reason he wouldn't take it to the vet was because questions would be asked about how the dog had received such a significant injury on barbed wire.”

Duckworth, of Eton Close, Padiham, had admitted performing surgery on Tess and failing to take such steps as were reasonable to protect Cleo from pain, suffering and disease. Pennine magistrates had fined him £110, with £100 costs and £20 victim surcharge and had made an order depriving him of ownership of Cleo and an order banning Duckworth from owning or keeping dogs for two years.

He appealed against the two orders at the higher court and claimed disqualification was neither necessary nor proportionate.

But the judge dismissed his applications, upheld the deprivation order and increased the disqualification to 10 years because of what she described as Duckworth's ‘attitude towards defenceless animals.’ Judge Lunt said Duckworth had shown wanton disregard for the welfare of his dogs, and was not a fit and proper person to have them.

She said: “Dogs must be protected from this young man.”

Cleo, who has been in kennels since she was seized from the appellant last November, may now be re-homed by the RSPCA.

Nicholas Clarke, for the RSPCA, said last November 17, inspectors received a call saying Duckworth had been seen stitching a wound on a dog. They attended a house where the surgery had been seen and spoke to Duckworth. He refused to let the officers in and instead brought two dogs to the front door. Neither appeared to be suffering.

The inspectors told him why they were there and he admitted he had performed surgery, claiming: “I'm more qualified than most vets.”

The appellant claimed he had carried out surgery a handful of times and learned it from other men who had dogs.

Mr Clarke said on November 29, a different inspector attended an address in Blackburn. Duckworth wasn't present but his brother's partner was. The officers saw a tan lurcher, Cleo, which had a wound, about one centimetre wide and four centimetres long, on her right hind leg. The dog was taken into the care of the RSPCA and was seen by vet Shaun Taylor. He said when the injury occurred, it would have caused the animal pain for at least two days. A vet would have sutured the wound beneath the skin and had the dog been taken in the day the wound was caused, it was likely surgery would have been required.

The prosecutor told the hearing: "As part of their investigation, the RSPCA obtained pictures off Mr Duckworth's Facebook page, which gave an indication to them that his dog is not used for pest control, in relation to rabbiting and ratting. An indication is given by him that the dog is used for foxes and deer. It is not legal to hunt deer with dogs. Its legal to hunt rabbits and rats, which isn't the indication that is given."

Duckworth had no previous convictions.

Sobia Ahmed, for Duckworth, told the court he said Cleo ran into a fence post. He cleaned, sealed and dressed her wound twice. He accepted he ought to have taken her to the vet.

Duckworth's family had kept dogs all his life and he had been looking after them since he was 15.

Miss Ahmed said the appellant had not intended to deliberately hurt the animals or cause suffering.

Rejecting Duckworth's appeal, Judge Lunt said it was clear Cleo would have been in pain when she was injured.

She said: “Any reasonable dog owner who had its welfare at heart would have taken it to a vet and any vet would have prescribed pain medication. We are satisfied it's more his luck than judgement that the wound did not become infected.”

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