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Owner 'jailed' for keeping dogs outside in Beast from the East freeze

English bull terrier close up outdoors dog-angry
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An owner who left his two dogs outside to perish in the Beast from the East has finally been brought to justice. But some say the current Sentencing Guidelines for animal cruelty do not go far enough.

By Nick Whittle , 25 Mar 2019

2018's Beast from the East forced the UK into lockdown. The cold snap, which brought temperatures plummeting to -11 degrees Celsius dumped two feet of snow over great swathes of the nation and saw Britain’s economic infrastructure grind to a halt.

But while most pet owners were doing what they could to keep their dogs, cats and other animals warm, a Gloucester resident decided not to bring inside his two dogs Dessa and Diesel and instead left them in his garden to fend for themselves.

RSPCA Inspector Phil Mann told ‘As temperatures dropped below zero and snow covered the country, Dessa and Diesel were outside day and night without appropriate shelter’.

At the time of the dogs’ rescue they were covered in untreated sores. One of the dogs was also found tangled in the chain used to tether it to the house.

Convicted of animal cruelty

Dawkins was convicted of animal cruelty in March of this year (2019). He received an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a 10-year ban on keeping animals; he was also forced to pay £750 of court fees.

When I saw them locked outside, I feared that if I didn't help them straight away there would have been two dead dogs the following morning,’ Mann said

Dessa (English bull terrier) and Diesel (Staffordshire terrier) have now recovered from their ordeal and are being looked after at the Cotswold Dogs and Cats Home. They are both available for adoption.

Despite the government’s announcement at the end of 2017 to increase the maximum jail sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years animal rights campaigners say more should be done to deter owners from committing offences.

However, a set-back to the introduction of tougher laws may be the loss of the EU Lisbon Treaty after Brexit. The Treaty defines animals as sentient beings that can feel and understand pain.



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