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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Couple who kept geese, goats, cats, dogs and a PONY in their pub basement facing jail

By Daily Mail Reporter

The pony found in the cellar of Eric and Doreen Buckley's property in south Wales

A couple are facing jail after admitting chronic neglect of two dozen animals kept in a squalid cellar at their three-storey home.

Eric and Doreen Buckley, of Pontypridd, South Wales, were already deemed such a danger to animals they were banned for life from keeping any.

Now the serial animal welfare offenders, facing up to six months in jail, could be banned from even approaching strangers' pets.

The husband and wife were caught keeping a cat, 11 dogs, nine geese, a pony and two goats in a former Rhondda Valley pub.

But they had already been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years due to animal welfare breaches in 1993.

After more series breaches in 1995 both were banned from keeping all animals for life.

They couple appeared before magistrates in Kingston upon Thames, where they were living at the time, on both occasions.

Police and the RSPCA raided the couple's south Wales home last June only to find they had evacuated the whole menagerie over night.

This is one of the 11 dogs found in the former Rhondda Valley pub

The property, in High Street, Gilfach Goch, was in such a putrid condition it was regarded as proof of breaching animal welfare rules alone.

Mr Buckley, 56, belatedly admitted all the charges against him today on the eve of a trial at Pontypridd Magistrates' Court.

His wife, 46, failed to attend but had previously made full admissions of all charges through her lawyer.

Both were granted bail until June 17.

The RSPCA rescued these geese from the couple who have been charged with chronic neglect

Shocked RSPCA officials found the couple's "stinking" home to be infested with animal faeces.

At one point up to 13 dogs, retired racing greyhounds, had the run of the rambling three-storey former pub, used by them as a toilet.

Most, however, were kept in an unlit cellar whose floor was almost an inch deep in animal waste.

A vet brought in to administer to the animals once they were located was forced to extract 34 rotting teeth from the mouth of one dog.

Eric Buckley of south Wales admitted all the charges against him on the eve of a trial at Pontypridd Magistrates' Court (pictured)

Despite being caught red-handed, Buckley still refuses to sign over four dogs to the RSPCA, costing the charity thousands of pounds to look after them.

‘The dogs can't be re-homed until they have been signed over to us and before the offences had been proven, a court could not order them to be seized,’ said inspector Nicola Johnston.

Speaking after the brief hearing today she said she was initially amazed to find the house empty but neighbours quickly confirmed they had been present the night before.

It was soon found animals had been left with friends at short notice and the couple had decamped to a new address in Pontypridd.

Ms Johnston said: ‘I have never seen anything like it before in my life. Even before going inside the house you could sniff the air outside and realise something was wrong.

The property was located in High Street, Gilfach Goch (pictured), and was in such a putrid condition it was regarded as proof of breaching animal welfare rules

‘Inside, it was beyond anything I have ever seen, or hope ever to see again.’

She said things got worse when she tried to explore the empty unlit cellar.

‘You stood there in complete blackness squishing and squashing underfoot as you walked. The air was stagnant and stinking. To think that somebody thought it was a fit place to keep animals was incredible.’

She said three dogs in particular had to undergo comprehensive dental surgery as a result of their condition.

‘The vet actually said in the case of one dog that it had the worst dental condition he had ever seen in his career. He was horrified.

‘It was so bad when the dog's mouth opened the teeth moved about individually. To keep animals like that is completely unnecessary.’

She said that when Buckley was approached about the conditions and asked why he kept too many, he answered: ‘Why not?’

The couple both admitted seven charges, including two for breaching previously imposed banning orders.

Five other offences are for causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet welfare needs of the animals.

In particular they relate to four dogs which were found to be suffering flea infestations, ear infections and oral disease.

District judge Jill Watkins, warned Buckley before adjourning: ‘This is a serious case aggravated by the fact that there was an order from a magistrates' court which you breached and which led to the suffering of these animals.

‘You should understand that I believe that this case merits a custodial sentence. I shall therefore give you unconditional bail to return to this court on Friday morning on 17th June.’



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