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Barnsley Couple Banned From Keeping Animals

Wednesday November 13 2013

Barnsley Magistrates' Court Barnsley Magistrates' Court

A COUPLE who left a dog suffering from a potentially fatal bug out in the cold in their back garden have been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Brett Kershaw, 23, and Elizabeth Wheelhouse, 19, put Ernie, an American bulldog, under some trees with no proper shelter and protection, Barnsley Magistrates' Court was told.

An animal welfare officer who saw the dog at the scene said there was a putrid smell and the dog, who later died, was unresponsive, said RSPCA prosecutor Brian Orsborn.

Mr Orsborn said Kershaw and Wheelhouse, of Clyde Street, Barnsley, had woken up that morning to find half the kitchen floor of the home where they were then living half covered in blood and diarrhoea.

Mr Orsborn added: "The couple bleached and cleaned the kitchen and carried the dog outside into the back garden, covered it in a blanket and left because, apparently, Mr Kershaw wanted to help his parents to move home.

"The dog was eventually seen by a vet, put on intravenous drugs and, when he did not respond, put on a warming pan. The dog died."

Kershaw said later he had not been told the dog had been vaccinated. Wheelhouse said she did not know if the dog had had its injections.

Philip Howard, defending, said the couple had bought the dog on the internet for £80 and insisted the couple were told the dog had been given the necessary treatment.

He said the dog appeared healthy for the first few days but started vomiting and not eating. He said the dog would appear to recover and get back to normal.

Mr Howard said Kershaw and Wheelhouse had no money to see a vet and were going to take Ernie to a branch of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals in Sheffield.

He added: "The couple wrapped the dog in a blanket and left it in the garden. On mature reflection, Mr Kershaw and Miss Wheelhouse accept their care didn't come up to the appropriate standards.

"Mr Kershaw and Miss Wheelhouse did not act out of cruelty but out of ignorance. They were full of sorrow and remorse when the dog died. They will be denigrated by certain members of the public."

District Judge John Foster described the couple's reaction to Ernie's illness as 'unpleasant'.

Kershaw and Wheelhouse admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. They were ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and each ordered to pay £250 in costs.