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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Woman prison warder kept SIXTY collie dogs caked in filth in her run-down home

By Chris Slack

A female prison officer who kept 60 collie dogs in appalling conditions at her home is facing jail.

Amanda Hammond, 66, kept the pets in rooms which were covered with excrement at her five-bedroom home in Northall, Buckinghamshire.

In a hearing at Aylesbury Magistrates' Court, the court heard that Hammond's crimes came to light when RSPCA inspectors were called to a nearby farm after a sheep was killed and several others injured.

They found that several dogs had escaped from Hammond home and attacked the animals.
The charity then sent officers to Hammond's house and discovered dogs locked up in groups in small rooms and others in outdoor pens.

They also found others who were allowed to roam as they pleased.

The house, which has no running water or electricity, also had layer of dog excrement covering the floors which left them 'spongy and wet' underfoot.

Every room in the house apart from Hammond's bedroom was covered in faeces, they reported.

The court heard that when asked how many dogs she had, Hammond replied 'about 30 to 35' but when the RSPCA counted them there were 60.

The prison warder, who worked full time at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, admitted losing count as the dogs' breeding got out of control.

Hammond, who has lived alone in the property for 30 years, also admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs, one count of keeping 11 dogs in filthy and unhygienic conditions, one count of keeping 47 dogs in various unhygienic outdoor conditions and a fifth charge of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep.

Local farmers David Jones and Rob Pratt both had flocks of sheep attacked by groups of dogs belonging to Hammond.

Disgusting: The floors at the home were covered in a layer of dog excrement covering the floors which left them 'spongy and wet' underfoot

Prosecutor Janita Patel said: 'Mr Jones had been told by neighbours his sheep were being attacked by dogs. When he arrived he was confronted with a field full of injured sheep.'

Mrs Patel said RSPCA officers were called to the cottage to investigate.

She said: 'As the RSPCA inspector walked up to the house dogs kept appearing going in and out of bushes and seemed very nervous.

'There was faeces everywhere and the garden was very overgrown.

'In the house there was an overwhelming smell of faeces and urine. She couldn't tell what kind of flooring was there because it was all covered in faeces.

'Upstairs floorboards were rotting and the back garden had been fenced off into three pens. All were overgrown with faeces everywhere.

'She went to the front room and had to step onto a thick layer of dog excrement which was spongy and wet.

Feral: Many of the dogs were allowed to roam free in the gardens of Hammond's home, while some managed to escape before attacking sheep at a local farm

'She described it as an unbelievable sight and couldn't believe dogs and their owner were still living there.'

Police and vets were called and all of the dogs were removed with most having to be caught. All had skin allergies and suffered hair loss of a chronic nature.

In police interview, Hammond accepted the conditions were 'terrible' and failing to provide adequate care.

All of the dogs were signed over to the RSPCA.

Presiding magistrate Dr Wendy Bridle adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report and warned Hammond that all options were open, including a jail term.

Hammond will return to the court in October for sentencing. She was released on unconditional bail.



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